THE Patriots for Economic Progress says it is disappointed with the arbitrary manner in which the Electoral Commission of Zambia is handling this year’s general elections.
In a statement, party leader Sean Tembo said the ECZ’s recent ban on political party roadshows and the Commission’s excuse that such events had been turned into mobile political rallies was only applicable to the PF and UPND.
He noted that instead of only banning roadshows for the PF and the UPND, who are the culprits in non-adherence to COVID-19 regulations, the Commission in its infinite wisdom had decided to ban roadshows for all political parties across the country.
“Our observations so far are that apart from the PF and the UPND, the rest of the political parties have been adhering to COVID-19 regulations in their roadshows and therefore did not deserve to be punished for the wrongdoing of two political parties. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to bring it to the attention of the Commission that whereas the PF and UPND are old and established political parties who are already known countrywide, the other political parties including ourselves are new and we need the opportunity to market ourselves to the electorate,” Tembo said. “Therefore, if the Electoral Commission of Zambia is going to continue with the arbitrary conduct of punishing all political parties for the wrongdoing of two political parties, then the total effect of the Commission’s arbitrary actions will be to kill democracy in this country.”
He reminded the ECZ that Zambia’s democracy in general and this year’s elections in particular do not revolve around the PF and UPND.
Tembo said the ECZ should not get “swallowed up” in the maze of accusations and counter-accusations between the PF and UPND and forget its primary mandate in the process.
He added that it was now apparent that the ECZ was divorced from the reality on the ground in terms of campaigns, based on its pronouncement that door-to-door campaigns should be restricted to three people per political party.
“Such a proposal is simply not practical for a number of reasons including security. A group of three people going door-to-door in places such as Marapodi, Misisi or Chibolya will simply be robbed of all their possessions including the clothes that they are wearing,” Tembo argued.
He said “this is a stark reminder that commissioners that constitute ECZ” should be made up of a mix of people including those that have first-hand experience in politics and not just pen-pushers who only have a theoretical perspective of political campaigns.