LUNGU CRIES FOUL

 

Incumbent President Edgar Lungu has declared the 2021 General Elections not free and fair.

In a statement issued by Special Assistant to the President Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu says the elections in the Southern, Northern and Northwestern Provinces were characterized by violence, rendering the exercise a nullity.

He added that polling agents from his party, the Patriotic Front (PF), were brutalized and chased from polling stations, while other officials were killed.

President Lungu said that the PF were reduced to compete in seven provinces while their opponents were contesting in 10, due to the said attacks.

He added that despite writing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on the matter, they have continued to announce election results.

Meanwhile, the European Union Election Observer Mission has noted that against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic, ECZ carried out its work professionally under challenging circumstances.

The Union further described the August 12 Election Day as technically managed but marred with unequal campaign conditions, restrictions on freedom of assembly and movement and abuse of incumbency.

In a statement made available to Lusaka Star, Chief Observer of EU Election Observation Mission Maria Arena, said campaigns took place in a highly competitive environment but noted that selective application of laws and regulations, misuse of state resources and one sided media reporting meant that a level playing field was not achieved.

She also noted that the political communication online featured divisive rhetoric during the campaigns while disinformation and tribalism pervaded the online debate, which she observes, was detrimental to voters.

Ms. Arena also expressed concern with the restriction of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp on Election Day by ICT regulators without explaining the reason or duration for such actions.

Ms. Arena has since called on on all stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process is complete in a peaceful manner.

I urge political parties, candidates and citizens to await the announcement of the results calmly and peacefully. In addition, it will be important that any possible challenge to the results are handled in line with the due process and as established by law,

She said.

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