|11. July 2016
Zambia's electoral commission
halts campaigning in the capital for 10 days
Police opened fire on the
opposition United Party for National Development supporters after the party
refused to cancel a campaign meeting in Lusaka.
Political campaigning in
Zambias capital Lusaka has been suspended for 10 days because of violent
clashes ahead of next months national elections, the electoral commission
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced on Sunday that it
was suspending campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala, south of the capital, until
July 18 when the situation would be reviewed..
commission of Zambia has observed with dismay the rise in political violence in
some districts which has regrettably resulted in injury, loss of life and
property, commission spokesman Cris Akufuna said in a statement. No
public rallies, meetings, processions or door-to-door campaigning will be
allowed, Akufuna said.
The run-up to the election has been marred by
skirmishes between supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) of
President Edgar Lungu and the opposition United Party for National
Development (UPND) led by Hakainde Hichilema.
On Friday, police opened fire
on UPND supporters, killing one, after the party refused to cancel a campaign
meeting in Lusakas Chawama area.
The ECZ said all vehicles carrying
political party campaign messages in the two areas should be parked.
Campaigns shall be restricted to electronic and print media publicity and
hate speech will not be entertained, it said.
The ECZ had received
reports of political violence in three other towns in southern Zambia and
warned that it would halt campaigning there if violence persisted. The
commission appeals to all political party leaders to counsel and control their
cadres in the interest of making peace in our country, the ECZ said in a
The ECZ on June 19 threatened to bar campaigning due to growing
cases of violence, after clashes between supporters of the ruling PF party and
its main opposition, UPND. The ban on campaigning comes less than three
weeks after Zambias biggest independent newspaper, The Post, was shut
down by the authorities over a tax dispute a move seen as an attempt to
silence it before the August 11 vote.
President Edgar Lungu has been
in power for just over a year after winning a ballot triggered by the death of
his predecessor, Michael Sata. Lungu faces a strong challenge from UPND
leader Hakainde Hichilema..(Mail&Guardian, Johannesburg)