Few weeks ago, the Electoral Commission of Zambia banned the conduct of political rallies or any other assembly that had the ability to attract multitudes of people.
The political parties were urged to utilize other virtual platforms of delivering their political messages. The Patriotic Front has heeded the directive and has been conducting online rallies which are conducted twice a week. It is not clear on whether the opposition UPND will follow suit to remotely engage their electorates.
This guidance was to be enforced by the political parties themselves using their structures and the Zambia Police service as the electoral stakeholders. This came in the wake of a spike in the covid pandemic and Zambia was a breeding ground owing to conventional campaign methods politicians were employing.
Recently, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja banned the conducting of public processions by political leaders. While the announcement by the police chief is long overdue, it is not too late to bring sanity on the political play ground while balancing with the need to preserve public health.
There are also some cross sections of society that allege that the President is campaigning under the guise of distribution of masks to selected markets. This narrative ignores the fact that the exercise of Presidential duties has not ceased and there is no vacuum in the highest office.
The announcement by UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema that he has embarked on a countrywide tour to distribute masks to public places without working hand in hand with relevant government functionaries is recipe for anarchy and not only is it a health risk but security risk which must not be tolerated.
Mr Hichilema also suggested that he has embarked on visitations to inspect the living standards of the people.
Zambians are not obsessed with the change for the sake of replacing a guard; Zambians are obsessed with a healed economy and a relief on citizens. The economy is presenting the signs of recovery and chiefly among them is the appreciation of the local currency and increase in disposable income as a result of the debt relief granted to the civil servants through a debt swap.
As a leader who commands the following in some parts of the country, Mr Hichilema must exercise responsibility and not be purveyor of rebellion against the police and other government institutions. We wonder whether Mr Hichilema would tolerate his antagonist conduct toward legitimate authority conduct if he was Republican President.
Marvin Chanda Mberi