By CHINOYI CHIPULU
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has suspended political rallies and roadshows ahead of the January 20 the parliamentary elections in Kabwata due to the escalating cases of Covid19 in the country.
ECZ Acting Chief Electoral Officer Royd Katongo advised Political parties to use alternative campaign strategies such as mobile public address system, distribution of flyers and other political party materials with minimal or no contact with a crowd.
Mr Katongo said in a statement that non-adherence to the Code of Conduct will attract sanctions accordingly.
“ ECZ held the Political Parties Liaison Committee meeting with participating political parties in the Kabwata by-election to discuss the management of by-elections looking at the rights and obligations of various stakeholders and discussed the management and conduct of electoral activities in the wake of the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said the Commission has continued its collaboration with the Ministry of Health through the Technical Committee on Elections and Covid-19 to guide the conduct of electoral activities amidst the pandemic.
“Following the stakeholder engagement, the meeting resolved that no campaign rallies and road shows shall be held in view of the escalating cases of Covid-19 in the country and in line with the Standard Operating Procedures, the suspension of campaign rallies and roadshows is with immediate effect. Important to note, it is the rallies and roadshows that have been suspended and NOT campaigns,”read the statement in part.
Mr Katongo further reminded political players to desist from engaging in violence, hate speech and ethnic reference as they undermine the credibility of an election.
“Participating candidates are further reminded that non-adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct by their handlers or campaign strategists will attract direct sanctions on the said candidates which include disqualification, ”he said.