THE ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has suspended campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala following a spate of violent attacks which have resulted in bloodshed and death.
ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna confirmed this in a statement issued yesterday.
He said the commission was dismayed with the rise in political violence in some districts which regrettably resulted in the loss of life, and a number of casualties.
“In exercise of its powers under Section 28(2) of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016, the Commission has decided to suspend campaigns in the whole of Lusaka District and Namwala District for ten days with effect from today, 9th July 2016,” he said.
He said during the suspension, there would be no public rallies or processions including door-to-door campaigns, and that all party branded vehicles must be parked and should not be used.
Mr Akufuna said political parties have been advised to use radio and television as the only forms of campaign during this period, and that Zambia Police must ensure that all political parties adhere to the directive.
And ECZ has warned of more campaign suspensions in other district once it confirms the reported violence especially in relation to Mazabuka, Gwembe and Monze.
“The Commission has also received reports of political violence in Mazabuka, Monze and Gwembe districts and would like to warn political parties and candidates in the said districts to desist from violence, failure to which campaigns will also be suspended,” he said.
Meawhile, Lusaka Police Commissioner Nelson Phiri has cancelled the process for allowing political rallies to hold public campaigns following the escalation of violence that rocked Lusaka in the recent past.
Mr Phiri said with the brutal attacks on innocent members of the public, the police would not allow political gatherings around Lusaka for the security of all citizens including members of the various political parties as long as the situation remained unpredictable.
“As long as the situation remains volatile, it would be unreasonable for any political party to come forward with such propositions to hold a public party rallies, and police would not authorise such activities,” he said.