II IS illegal for political parties to start campaigning when the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has not yet declared the campaign period for next year’s polls, says Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe.
He said he has just returned from Central and Copperbelt provinces where YALI conducted a non-violence sensitization and found political campaigns in full gear . He said pre-campaigning was one of the major causes of political violence because other political parties felt intimidated.
He explained that politicking in the two provinces had hit the peak and political parties had begun campaigning when they were not supposed to.
‘’Having toured Central and Copperbelt provinces on our anti-violence campaign, we have realised that one of the serious causes of political violence is the tendency of campaigning before time; other political parties feel disadvantaged and hence resort to violence,’’ he said.
He urged all political parties to wait for the legal campaign time to be declared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and said that they should all adhere to the electoral code of conduct.
Mr Ntewewe urged local authorities to ban political adverts stuck on public buildings, buses and markets.
He said the two were the most misused areas where political parties hanged political regalia and this had bought tension among political parties. He said it was the duty of councils to ensure that public property was protected and not used for political advertising.
‘’The issue of putting party regalia in buses and markets and issues of political parties personalizing them is another challenge. These are public property and councils should ensure it is protected and only used for the intended purposes,’’ he said.
The YALI leader cautioned the police not to be use to deny political parties permission to hold meetings as was the case in Central Province where the Rainbow Party was denied permission to hold a meeting.
Mr Ntewewe urged the newly appointed Police Inspector General Mr Kakoma Kanganja to follow the directives of President Edgar Lungu for him to work hard and be fair in the enforcement of the law.
He said he should not be used as an instrument of corruption but as a servant of the Zambian people to fight all corrupt practices.