THE United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Patriotic Front (PF) are abrogating the electoral code of conduct by engaging in early campaigns for the 2016 general elections, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) has charged.
And the UPND has claimed that it was only following what President Edgar Lungu was doing and will continue with its campaigns until the ruling party changed its way of doing politics.
Reacting to the violence that erupted on the Copperbelt following the clash between UPND and PF cadres on Wednesday, EFZ executive director Pukuta Mwanza urged the two political parties to halt their activities especially on the Copperbelt where the political environment was volatile.
Rev Mwanza said leaders of the two parties must act responsibly by caging their unruly cadres and halt their election campaigns because they breached the electoral code of conduct.
“Regardless of who started the violence, what happened on Wednesday is very unfortunate and is a sign of worse things to come as we draw closer to 2016.
‘‘It is lack of responsibility on the part of the leaders of the two political parties which have continued to abrogate the electoral code of conduct with impunity. How do they start campaigning even before ECZ announces the campaign window period?” Rev Mwanza asked.
But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma accused the PF of starting the campaign.
Mr. Kakoma said his party was simply following the trend set by President Lungu who was allegedly campaigning for his party.
“What do you expect us to do when the President himself and his wife are campaigning? We will also campaign. As a matter of fact, you do not expect us to be inactive.
‘‘We have continued to mobilise our party by putting structures in place and if PF campaigns, we will also campaign because you don’t expect us to keep quiet when the President himself is calling for people to vote for him in 2016,’’ said Mr Kakoma. But PF secretary general Davies Chama said the UPND was the one that was fanning violence in the country.
“It is clear from the very beginning, the UPND made it clear that it will not stop campaigning even after all political parties were advised to desist from that. So, who is acting irresponsibly here?
“President Lungu is a leader for the entire country and so he is free to go to any part of Zambia to familiarize himself with the challenges facing the people of this country and so you cannot say by visiting certain provinces, he is campaigning,” Mr. Chama said.