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By KETRA KALUNGA                               

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has threatened to mete out stiff punishment including disqualification or suspension of physical campaigns of the two major parties, Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) for being major perpetrators of violence.

The ECZ issued the warning yesterday through its Chief Electoral Officer, Mr Kryticous Nshindano.

In a statement released by ECZ Corporate Affairs Manager Patricia Luhanga, Mr Nshindano reminded the two political parties that the Code of Conduct which their leaders swore oath to, applies to this period of campaigns and must be adhered to without exception.

He also advised the two political parties that they are risking their respective organisations against applicable sanctions in the law, including disqualification.

“From now henceforth, the Commission will be following the activities of both the PF and UPND with keen interest and should this continue, both parties risk being suspended,” he said.

Mr Nshindano has encouraged all political players to be tolerant and promote co-existence as they are some of the key ingredients of a maturing democracy and the conduct of peaceful elections.

“The Commission would like to categorically state that it will not hesitate to invoke the Electoral Process Act and suspend indefinitely all manner of physical campaigns for the two political parties should these violent acts continue,”  Mr Nshindano warned.

The Commission noted with serious concern the escalating campaign violence ahead of the August 12, general elections, especially in Lusaka and some selected parts of the country.

Mr Nshindano said yesterday that if the violence is left to escalate, it will undermine the credibility of the elections and also stability and peace of the country.

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