By Christopher Chisi
Governance, Elections, Advocacy, Research Services -GEARS Initiative has expressed concern with the emergence of electoral violence in Sesheke Parliamentary by-election in Sesheke District of Western Province and Makomba Ward bye-election in Lundazi District of Eastern Province respectively.
GEAR Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi says it is time the Electoral Commission of Zambia -ECZ counsels all political parties and law enforcement agencies involved in the by-elections on the provisions of the principles for election management, monitoring and observation in the SADC Region.
“We expect that those that have been named as perpetrators of violence in Makomba and Sesheke are brought to book by the Zambia Police Service without fear and favour, if indeed police are independent of political manipulation, ”Chipenzi says.
Chipenzi believes that for fair, free, credible and legitimate by-election process to be realised on 12 February, 2019, there is need for the police and other security forces to maintain a neutral role in the provision of election security services in the areas holding by-elections.
The GEARS Executive Director has since urged the police to follow the role prescribed to them in the electoral code of Conduct and ensure that their presence does not intimidate voters in those areas.