UPND accuse PF of electoral violation

OPPOSITION United Party for National Development has written to Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) accusing the Patriotic Front (PF) of violating the electoral code of conduct ahead of the 2016 general elections.

But the ECZ said it had not yet drawn up an election campaign period to effect the Electoral Code of Conduct during the time political parties are traversing the country interacting with their would be voters.

In a letter addressed to ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs, deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba said UPND had noted with dismay that PF had continued to exhibit posters of their Presidential candidate Edgar Lungu in many parts of the country.

But PF Lusaka Information and Publicity Secretary, Wellington Musonda has refuted claims made by Mr Simusamba saying the posters in question were for the January presidential by-elections.

Mr Simusamba said UPND was concerned over the activities being carried out by the ruling PF ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

He cited posters which were at Woodlands roundabout along Independence Avenue, crossroad of Chilumbulu and Kasama roads in Chilenje, Mtendere market and Kamloops road in Kalinglinga.

Mr Simusamba quoted the Electoral Code of Conduct section eight which stated that “the campaign period shall commence and close on such date as the commission may determine.”

“But we noted with dismay first hand gross violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct by the Patriotic Front,” he said.

Mr Simusamba said it was shameful that the PF had found it convenient to violate the electoral code.

“What is most disturbing about all this, is that the ECZ has remained mute as though the electoral code has not been violated. This gives us the impression that the commission is toothless and only acts when the violation is being committed by the opposition,” he said.

And Mr Musonda said accusations by UPND were a sign that they were scared of PF in 2016.

“They know very well that President Edgar Lungu will win in 2016 with a very big margin that is why they are bringing up such issues,” he said.

Mr Musonda has since advised Mr Simusamba and the UPND to concentrate on mobilizing their party ahead of the 2016 general elections and stop accusing the PF of violating the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He said the PF did not even need posters to scoop the 2016 general elections, adding that people would vote for the ruling party and President Lungu based on his works which he had delivered to Zambians.

But ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna said the Commission had noted that all political parties were going round the country and having radio talk shows but could not restrict their movement and activities because the Electoral Code of Conduct was not in effect.

Mr Akufuna said had the political parties been breaching the electoral code in an election period, the Commission was going to advise political leaders to conduct their political activities within the confines of the electoral code of conduct.

He said if any political party was going to complain about the activities of the ruling party and their messages, the Commission was going to advise them accordingly.