CHOMA-based human rights activist Bright Jalila says elections in Zambia have now become a risky event for citizens as opposed to a democratic exercise. In an interview, Jalila said the manner in which elections were handled in the country was nowhere near the promotion of democracy but a tool to punish taxpayers.
“Elections in Zambia under the PF regime have now become a risky event to citizens; they are no longer a democratic exercise. The Electoral Commission of Zambia has failed lamentably to analyse the political mood and their failure has damaged democracy in the country,” Jalila said.
He pointed out that by-elections created by civic leaders as a result of defections were a serious punishment to taxpayers who were already struggling to survive amidst the high cost of living in the country. Jalila urged the ruling PF to stop entertaining defectors in elective positions to avoid causing unnecessary by-elections.
“There is no by-election that was held in a clean manner under the PF regime and the recent Chilanga by-election showed us that government participated in the elections, going by the heavy presence of ministers, permanent secretaries and district commissioners instead of political parties,” he said.
And Jalila said Zambians were tired of rhetoric about violence and now wanted action to end the vice. Jalila said as much as President Edgar Lungu’s confession about his PF and the UPND being violent parties was welcome, Zambians were yearning for a solution from the Head of State.
PF and UPND cadres clashed during voting in the Chilanga parliamentary by-election, leaving several supporters from both camps injured. The violence was also extended to journalists from different media institutions who were attacked on their way to the totalling centre, leaving The Mast’s editorial vehicle damaged.