ECZ should ban violent political parties – petitioner

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:27:25 +0000

By Kalobwe Bwalya

THE Commission of Inquiry on voting patterns and electoral violence officially started its public hearing in in Lusaka yesterday with the first petitioner recommending the need to give powers to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ban political parties whose members engage in violence from participating in elections.

And former Minister of Transport and Communication in the MMD government William Harrington has claimed that lack of professionalism in the Zambia Police Service was a major contributor to political violence.

In his submission, Gershom Musonda, 52, representing the Zambian Editor’s Network, submitted that severe punitive measures should be meted out against perpetrators of violence.

He proposed that banning of political parties whose members engaged in violence would help curb electoral violence.

“When ECZ suspended campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala districts owing to rampant political violence in the August 11 general elections, the affected districts became quiet and when ECZ bans politicians whose political parties engage in violence, others will desist from engaging in the vice.

‘‘Culprits of political violence have most times gone unpunished and are considered as heroes and role models in some of the parties that get away with violence,” said. Mr Musonda. He also proposed that the ECZ should improve the transmission and announcement of results, which he said currently left a lot of room for doubt among stakeholders. Meanwhile, Mr Harrington submitted that one way of avoiding political violence was allowing the police to administer the law indiscriminately on all political players.

He regretted that the police service was viewed as an adversary and not law enforcers and public protectors leading to clashes between political party cadres and the police. Mr Harrington submitted that the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) should work towards eliminating the perception that the opposition were sometimes denied airspace to conduct their campaigns. Earlier, Lusaka Province minister Japhen Mwakalombwe assured commission chairperson Mr Justice Lisimba that his office would help publicize the objectives of the inquiry to the public and directed all heads of Government departments in Lusaka to sensitize citizens on the need to make submissions.


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