Politics

BAN ON RALLIES A SMUDGE ON OPPOSITION, SAYS ACTIVIST

By SANFROSSA MANYINDA

THE advice to political parties not to hold huge campaign rallies ahead of the August 12 general elections may disadvantage the opposition, a governance movement has observed.

Democratic Governance and Human-Rights Advocates (DEGHA) noted that the advice from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to discourage large gathering would be a setback on the opposition parties.

DEGHA National Coordinator, Gerald Mutelo, said it would be difficult for the political parties to follow the advice especially when they see the ruling party ignoring it.

Mr Mutelo was however quick to mention that the advice from the ECZ was genuine in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said in an interview  in Kitwe yesterday that it would be genuine for all the political parties to observe the COVID-19 guidelines during the campaign period.

The ECZ early this week during a stakeholder’s meeting guided political parties not to hold rallies during campaigns due to COVID-19, but use alternative means such as digital platforms.

“We need to see a level playing field on this matter because it will be difficult for others to follow the guideline when others are not. This should start with the ruling party abiding if others are to also abide.

Mr Mutelo said in as much as candidates wanted to sell themselves to the people, it was also important for them to note that the COVID-19 was real and that following the laid down guidelines would be the best to reduce the number of cases recorded.

He however urged political parties to avoid ferrying their supporters from other towns in the name of wanting to look popular but use the few that were in their respective areas.

He said this would also ensure that campaign rallies had a limited number of people and reduce the risk of people contracting the virus.

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