POLITICAL parties involved in violent political campaigns ahead of the August 11 general elections face suspension and disqualification, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) public relations manager Crispin Akufuna has warned.
He said the commission has noted with dismay the rising levels of violence and intolerance during the campaign period.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Akufuna said the commission was compelled to warn all political parties and candidates participating in the 2016 general elections and referendum to desist from acts of violence failure to which it will suspend all political party campaigns and disqualify erring political parties from the elections.
He explained that section 28 of the Electoral Process Act No 35 of 2016 empowered the commission to suspend campaigns if it considered it necessary for a credible election, and that section 110 of the same Act also empowered the commission to disqualify a political party or candidate in breach of the electoral Code of conduct.
“All political parties are expected to ensure that their cadres and supporters abide by the code. It is unacceptable that at this stage of our democracy we should have blatant disregard for the code of conduct as has been exhibited by some political party supporters,’’ Mr Akufuna said.
He therefore reiterated that it was the responsibility of the Zambia Police Service to ensure that perpetrators of violence and anyone caught abrogating the electoral code of conduct are dealt with firmly without fear or favour.
And Mr Akufuna also appealed to all political parties participating in the August 11 general elections to restrain their members and cadres from provoking their opponents and inciting violence and hoped that there wanted be an improvement in the electoral environment forthwith.