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OPEN STRONGHOLDS, UPND TOLD

 By NAMO PHIRI                                                  
IT is hypocrisy of the highest order for UPND to demand equity and a fair playing field in PF strongholds when it has closed off its strongholds for other political parties, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has said.

YALI president, Andrew Ntewewe urged other political parties to report UPND to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and use its barbaric behaviour as a basis for a petition.

Mr Ntewewe said UPND’s hypocrisy should not be tolerated by Zambians.

 “There is no particular part of Zambia that belongs to any party, every part of Zambia belongs to all of us. So why close off their strongholds from other parties yet cry for a level playing field in PF strongholds,” said Mr Ntewewe.

Mr Ntewewe wondered why the UPND leaders have not condemned the tribal war in its strongholds if the chaos did not have their blessing.

He called on PF to report the barbaric behaviour of UPND cadres to ECZ.

 “Every part of the country must be a free area where Zambian citizens regardless of their tribe and ethnicity must be able to campaign freely,” said Mr Ntewewe.

Mr Ntewewe has advised UPND to behave correctly as they risk being disqualified.

“Through the Electoral Process Act number 35 of 2016 in section 110, ECZ is empowered to disqualify a political party or a candidate who behaves in a barbaric manner like what has happened in Namwala,” Mr Ntewewe said.

He said ECZ has the power to suspend campaigns in a particular area and Namwala has been a problematic area because even in 2016 ECZ suspended campaigns in that area for 10 days after the death of two individuals who were killed during the day.

 Mr Ntewewe said it is important for UPND to understand that ECZ has the power to bite and if for instance the peace situation becomes uncontrollable, YALI will be the first to petition ECZ to suspend campaigns in Namwala.

He has also advised UPND to do the correct thing and ensure that their members are able to coexist with others rather than a situation where they feel Namwala belongs to only one tribe because it belongs to the whole Zambia and everyone must be allowed to participate freely without intimidation and violence.

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