THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has called for peace and calm among its supporters and has advised against engaging in acts of violence during the voting and counting process in the two parliamentary by-elections in Lubansenshi and Solwezi West constituencies.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has appealed to his supporters to be peaceful but vigilant during the voting period and ensure that their vote was protected.
Mr Hichilema encouraged the UPND cadres to remain strong and firm in the face of intimidation and provocation, adding that there was no need to be afraid to speak out each time they observed any form of electoral malpractice.
Mr. Hichilema said while the parliamentary by-elections taking place today had detracted citizens from their economic and electricity challenges, the by-elections should serve as a reminder to young Zambians that this was the time to obtain national registration cards and voters’ cards.
He said without the NRCs and voters’ cards, the youths would be dis-enfranchising themselves in the 2016 general elections.
He said after the parliamentary by-elections today, the UPND would focus its energy in the preparation for the general elections next year.
He said there was need for honest conversation and dialogue about the meaning of free and fair elections, alleging that the opposition political party had been a victim of political intimidation and harassment from the ruling party.
“As we come to the end of the by-election campaigns in Solwezi and Lubansenshi constituencies, I would like to thank our teams and supporters who have worked hard to spread our message of economic deliverance, public service and sacrifice over the past few weeks. Together, we take back control of the economy and deliver sustainable improvement in the standard of living of the people. I call upon our supporters to maintain peace and vigilance during voting period and be strong even in the face of intimidation and harassment,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr. Hichilema said the opposition political parties had seen a trend of increased intimidation in the run-up to today’s parliamentary by-elections, stating that the UPND members suffered arrests in trumped up charges.