UPND member Costain Chilikwazi has implored political parties taking part in the Katuba parliamentary by-election not to engage in political violence.
In a statement, Chilikwazi stated that the political parties should conduct violence free campaigns and ensure that the electorates choose an individual of their choice without intimidation, who would represent them effectively in the National Assembly.
He observed that some political parties had a tendency of “importing cadres” in constituencies where elections are taking place with a view to propagate acts of violence, adding that the trend had the potential to cause voter apathy.
“As campaigns in the Katuba parliamentary by-election get underway, we would like to urge the political parties that are taking part in this by-election to ensure that they conduct violence free political campaigns. We are aware that some political parties in this country have a tendency of ferrying their cadres from other areas such as Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces to go and engage in electoral violence in constituencies where by-elections are taking place,” Chilikwazi, who is also former Patriotic Front Kapiri Mposhi district vice youth chairman, said. “The tendency by some named political parties to import cadres has the potential to result in voter apathy because people feel intimidated. So we would want to see a situation where voters will freely choose an individual of their choice that will effectively represent the people of Katuba in the National Assembly.”
Chilikwazi further called on youths not to allow selfish politicians to use them as tools of political violence.
“To the youths from all political parties, my appeal is that they should not be used by selfish politicians as tools of political violence. Youths should not be used during elections like condoms and be discarded afterwards. Instead, youths should be engaged in productive activities as opposed to engaging them in political violence,” Chilikwazi said.
And Chilikwazi prodded the Zambia Police Service and the Electoral Commission of Zambia to ensure that political players in the Katuba by-election do not breach the electoral laws.
“The Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Zambia Police Service are key stakeholders in any election. We therefore expect the ECZ [Electoral Commission of Zambia] to ensure that all political players in the Katuba by-election adhere to the Electoral Code of Conduct when conducting their campaigns in the area. The Electoral Commission of Zambia has a mandate to ensure that electoral players do not breach electoral laws with impunity and at the end of the day left to go scot-free. There should be a level playing field in the Katuba parliamentary by-election,” said Chilikwazi. “Anybody that will be found violating the Electoral Code of Conduct should be dealt with accordingly. To the men and women in uniform [Zambia Police Service officers], we expect them to discharge their duties professionally by applying the law fairly and firmly. The Zambia Police officers should exhibit high levels of impartiality.”