Relief food flows ahead of Zambezi west by-election

Foundation for Democratic Process is concerned with the distribution of relief maize in Zambezi west ahead of the by-election in September.

FODEP executive director Macdonald Chipenzi said the government’s activities in constituencies with pending by-elections were likely to be misconstrued to be apparent electoral campaign activities.

Mr Chipenzi said the release of 2,000 x 50kg bags of relief maize to Zambezi West constituency was an apparent act of electoral campaign on the part of government on behalf of the ruling party, because it was happening barely a week after the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announced the holding of by-elections in five constituencies which Zambezi West.

“The 2,000 x50kg bags of relief maize to be distributed to Zambezi West constituency ahead of the parliamentary by-election on September, 11 2014, are purportedly from the Zambezi Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depot. Reports reaching FODEP are that the relief maize would be distributed through the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries as a lead NGO located within Zambezi District,” he said.

Mr Chipenzi advised stakeholders to be wary of electoral malpractices and corruption which may come in various ways to avoid electoral petitions especially in periods when the Electoral Code of Conduct was not applicable.

He said though the distribution of relief food to concerned communities by the government was important and a government duty, it should be mindful of the circumstances prevailing at the time of embarking on such exercises to avoid speculations from stakeholders, considering that it was election period in the area.

Mr Chipenzi said it should be emphasized that government should not  attach any conditions to such distribution to the recipients, adding that his organisation was following the activities of electoral stakeholders in Zambezi West and other areas where by-elections were pending.