OPPOSITION political parties have reaffirmed their resolve to unite across partisan, sectarian, religious, and other interests, starting with demanding the immediate repeal of the Public Order Act (POA) as well as the review of the Electoral Act as the country goes for the general elections on 11th August 2016.
The United Party for National Development (UPND), the Rainbow Party, People’s Party and the Green Party have also resolved and declared that they will not engage in any violent activities, hate or tribal utterances in their conduct and pledged that they would instead prioritise preaching of messages of peace, love and unity in diversity.
In a communiqué read by Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba yesterday, the opposition political parties said they were deeply concerned with the misapplication of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service and the escalating incidences of political violence among citizens and the media.
Mr Kabimba said the opposition political parties pledged to fight against any and all forms of public resource abuse by the Patriotic Front (PF) stating that together they would be pressing for a transparent, open and accountable manner of managing the August 2016 general elections.
“We shall collectively and individually press for the immediate review of the Electoral Act, Public Order Act and other legislations in consultation with stakeholders with the purpose of aligning them to plural politics and make them responsive to tenets of sound democratic practices without any further delay. We pledge to support immediate practical steps to improve the administration of the Public Order Act which include providing for the decentralization of police notifications for holding of political and civil assemblies and processions. Therefore, we demand that the Public Order Act and all other laws be applied equally and fairly to all players in the democratic process,” he said.
Mr Kabimba said the opposition political parties had pledged to undertake to develop and disseminate messages of peace, love and unity in addressing escalating incidences of political and electoral violence currently being witnessed in the country.
He said the opposition political parties were also demanding the timely invitation and early arrival of international election observers for the August general elections.
“The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should consider funding polling agents accredited by political parties as well as capacity build political party polling agents ahead of the general elections. We demand a media code of conduct which will commit to equal and balanced media access and coverage by all political parties,” Mr Kabimba said. The opposition political parties consultative meeting which was facilitated and convened by veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga was attended by Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND and his vice-president for administration Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.
Other were Mike Mulongoti of the People’s Party, Peter Sinkamba of the Green Party and Tenthani Mwanza of the Socialist Revolutionary Front (SRF).