By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE UPND has insisted that it will go ahead with political campaign rallies ahead of the August 12 general election against advice from the authorities not to do so due to the escalated Covid-19 cases in the country.
Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has warned that the police will not condone politicians who are disregarding the law by going ahead with campaign rallies and door to door activities.
However in total defiance of this directive, the UPND in Siavonga and other places held public rallies to drum up support for the August 12 elections.
Mr. Kanganja observed that some politicians are deliberately disregarding provisions of the law by conducting political activities outside the provisions of the law. He said some politicians have opted to disregard the advice by regulating officers and have opted to go ahead with public activities even when advised not to.
He also expressed concern that political parties are conducting their door to door campaigns and processions without notifying the Police while abrogating the Ministry of Health Covid-19 guidelines.
But UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya said in an interview that their campaign rallies will go on as scheduled while citizens will be encouraged to exercise both caution and good judgement around social distancing, masking up and sanitising.
He said the international community has already affirmed their commitment to ensuring that the voice of the people of Zambia is not illegally interfered with by the government.
Mr Bwalya accused the Patriotic Front of using the Police to trample on democracy and the right of citizens to decide their future.
“It’s unfortunate that the police has been reduced to responding to directives that are not supported by law, as opposed to enforcing the law as it exists,” he said adding that currently, there is no that bans political rallies.
He also claimed the Statutory Instruments signed in respect of Covid-19, SI 62 of July 2020, that lifted the limit on the number of people who can meet outdoors was amended as per Section 9.
Mr Bwalya said the directive by President Edgar Lungu, who is PF presidential candidate to the police is illegal and an attempt to incite the police to rise against citizens exercising their constitutional rights.