THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has threatened to suspend the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) from participating in the campaigns should they continue perpetrating violence ahead of the August general elections.
The Commission has since started following the activities of both the PF and UPND with keen interest.
ECZ Corporate Affairs Manager Patricia Luhanga said in a statement that the Commission will also not hesitate to invoke the Electoral Process Act and suspend indefinitely all manner of physical campaigns for the two political parties violent acts continue.
She said the commission has noted with serious concern the escalating campaign violence ahead of the election especially in Lusaka and some selected parts of the country.
Ms Luhanga said if left to escalate, the electoral violence will undermine the credibility of the elections and also stability and peace of the country.
“The Commission has also noted that the perpetrators of violence are mainly the PF and UPND.
The Commission would like to remind the two political parties that the Code of Conduct which their leaders swore oath to applies to this period of campaigns and must be adhered to without exception,” she said.
Ms Luhanga called on political party leaders to control their supporters as violence undermines the credibility of an election.
“The Commission further calls on the Police to swiftly arrest and present for prosecution all those that will be found in breach of the Code of Conduct. We call upon the police to perform their duties in an impartial and professional manner,” Ms Luhanga said.
She further said the Commission will not allow the country to degenerate into lawlessness during campaigns in the name of electoral activities.
“The Commission further calls on the electorate and political party supporters to desist from engaging in violence because it is not worth to die for any political leader. You are further risking your respective political party against applicable sanctions in the law, including disqualification,” she said.
Ms Luhanga has encouraged all political players to be tolerant and promote coexistence as they are some of the key ingredients of a maturing democracy and the conduct of peaceful elections.