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ECZ advice against political rallies insincere – Chanda

LUSAKA resident Kawimbe Chanda says the advice ECZ is giving political players against holding rallies is insincere and baseless.

Chanda argues that President Edgar Lungu and the PF have been holding public gatherings that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has never advised against.

He challenged the Commission’s chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano to explain if they want to favour the ruling party.

“Nshindano and the ECZ are double faced. Recently they conducted by-elections and rallies were held. So, was there no COVID-19 then?” he asked. “Edgar and PF leaders have held several ‘empowerment’ gatherings. At the Patriotic Front secretariat, a huge gathering was organised to welcome Chishimba Kambwili back to PF. Were all these gatherings not super-spreader events to ECZ? Why has their so-called advice against campaigns only come now when political parties are supposed to physically reach out to the voters?”

Chanda accused the ECZ of having a preferred presidential candidate who they are favouring.

“To me these guys already have a potential president of their choice. This is the most uncommon, intolerant, undermining, illogical and discriminatory attitude shown by the ECZ,” Chanda charged. “Edgar has held rallies under the guise of working visits and inspecting the so-called developmental projects; commissioning of bridges with huge gatherings. Was the ECZ not aware that those were the COVID-19 super spreader events? How will voters know the right candidates to vote for if they don’t interact with people they want to vote for?”

He has since advised the Commission to stop using Covid as a tool for favouring the ruling party.

Chanda said the country’s population consists of more illiterates than literates, hence the need for physical interaction with candidates.

“ECZ and police should stop using COVID-19 as a weapon to deny opposition political parties to campaign and disseminate their messages to voters. Political parties should be allowed to campaign and hold rallies peacefully without intimidation,” said Chanda. “As long as they are observing COVID-19 guidelines of masking up and social distancing, there is no need of advising people against holding political rallies. Besides, ours is not a country of mostly learned people, no. It is a country of mostly illiterates and semi-literates who have nothing to do with technology. All they want is to meet candidates physically and hear from them. So, ECZ advice is untimely, misplaced and totally irrelevant.”

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