THE Electoral Commission of Zambia is acting as a PF instrument in banning political rallies, says Copperbelt Socialist Party spokesperson Joseph Kangwa.
In a statement issued on Monday, Kangwa said the decision by the Commission to ban rallies would clearly disadvantage opposition parties while advantaging the ruling party.
He noted that while opposition parties were prevented from campaigning, the PF continued electioneering.
“The ECZ’s ban on political rallies is another evidence that it is not an independent institution when it comes to decision making,” he said. “The electoral body clearly obeyed the call of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to ban campaigning for the August 12 national elections. In banning political rallies, the ECZ is acting as a direct instrument of the PF government.”
He noted that the government has been hyping the threat of COVID-19 in Zambia precisely for the sole reason of silencing all opposition voices and project strength in time for the country’s elections.
Kangwa insisted that the pandemic could not be used as an excuse for the repressive measures.
“Zambia is not as hard-hit by COVID-19 as many countries because of effective government measures but because of the country’s relatively less connectivity with the world. Political rallies do not pose a threat to the health and lives of the Zambian people. They should be allowed,” he added. “Instead of functioning like a pillar of the country’s democracy as envisioned by the country’s Constitution, the ECZ has again proven that it is an instrument of the PF’s dictatorship. The ECZ’s ban on political rallies and the ‘shooting’ of presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema’s convoy on June 6 belong in the same spectrum of repression of opposition political parties.”
He added that the ban on rallies was yet another clear indication that Zambia was no longer a democracy.
Kangwa reaffirmed that the country was under a dictatorship pretending to be a democracy.
“We are back in a one-party state, but one pretending to be tolerant of political parties. Ever since the PF came into power under the leadership of Mr Lungu, the government has been acting as a threat to democracy,” said Kangwa. “It has prevented protest actions, restricted the actions of NGOs, silenced the media, attacked opposition groups, and intimidated the populace. Now it is using the ECZ. Now it is threatening the very lives of opposition candidates. Democracy means rule of the people. What we have in Zambia is rule of a handful of PF leaders. They do not want to surrender the wealth and power that they enjoy under the current government. They do not want to be held accountable for their corruption and other crimes. The people of Zambia, however, have had enough of the PF government. They can see through the real motives of the ECZ in banning political rallies. They can see through the evil machinations of the PF government.”