By Nation Reporter
WE commend the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for calling on the Police to apply the Public Order Act (POA) fairly and objectively on all political parties as a tool for peace as well as to allow for free space to conduct their campaigns, the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has said.
SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe said in an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday that the POA was a law that promoted peace apart from facilitating for the enjoyment of basic rights such as freedoms of assembly, association and expression.
He said that SACCORD was encouraged that the ECZ chairperson Justice Essau Chulu urged the police to apply the POA fairly and objectively to allow for peace as well as freedom of assembly.
He said that there had been complaints from some political stakeholders who had complained over intimidation and lack of free space to conduct their campaigns.
‘’It is encouraging to note the appeal made by the ECZ Chairperson Justice Chulu, on the need for all political players to be allowed to campaign freely without intimidation.
“The POA is a means for peace and would facilitate for the enjoyment of basic freedoms of assembly, association and expression owing to complaints from some opposition political parties over intimidation and lack of a free space to conduct their campaigns,’’ he said.
He said that it was important that the electorate were given a chance to listen to messages, ideas and manifestos that various political leaders were bringing out so that they would make an informed decision when casting their vote.
Mr Chembe said that it was possible for the country to hold peaceful elections but that it was important that all stakeholders played their role fairly and objectively.
He said that the disqualification of political parties that would be found perpetuating acts of violence was also commendable as it would deter stakeholders engaging in violent activities.