PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka
VARIOUS opposition political parties are elated by Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s directive to police commissioners to
allow political parties to hold their preparatory meetings and campaigns freely ahead of September 14 local government by-elections.
Speaking in separate interviews, National Restoration Party secretary general Ezra Ngulube said Mr Kanganja’s directive will enhance democracy.
Mr Ngulube said all political parties should be free to engage the electorate without any intimidation.
“Electorate cannot vote for a person they do not know just like we cannot buy a product we do not know on the market,” he said.
Mr Ngulube urged political parties to be responsible and maintain tranquillity, peace and order as they campaign.
He said democracy and freedom come with responsibility and every citizen should endeavour to uphold these values.
Green Party president Peter Sinkamba said the directive is a welcome move but it should be extended to other parts of the country.
Mr Sinkamba said the invocation of Article 31 of the Constitution by President Lungu was not meant to stop political parties from carrying out their activities but to give the police more powers to curb acts of economic sabotage.
Forum for Democracy and Development secretary general Nathan Mulonga said democracy entails that every political party is free to objectively comment on national issues without any intimidation.
Mr Kanganja recently directed all provincial police commissioners in areas with impending by-elections to allow political parties to conduct their preparatory meetings and campaign freely, but in line with the provisions of the Public Order Act and other pieces of legislation.
Electoral Commission of Zambia has set September 14, 2017 as the date for district council chairperson elections in Itezhi-Tezhi, Kanchibiya, Lavushimanda and Lunte.
On the same date, the commission will also conduct eight Local Government by-elections in Chililalila, Chitwi, Luansobe, Luntomfwe, Libonda, Mpidi Kakonga, Chimanja and Mabinga wards.
The by-election in Itezhi-Tezhi district has been necessitated by the death of the incumbent council chairperson.
The creation of Kanchibiya, Lavushimanda and Lunte districts necessitated the need for council chairpersons’ elections in the said districts.
The vacancies in Chililalila, Chitwi, Luansobe, Luntomfwe, Libonda, Mpidi Kakonga, Chimanja and Mabinga wards are as a result of deaths and resignations of incumbent councillors.