By JOHN SAKALA
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called for a continued peaceful environment during the Lukashya and Mwansabombwe parliamentary -elections to ensure that the rights of all participating parties and candidates as well as the electorate are upheld and protected.
HRC Spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya called on all the registered voters in the two constituencies to turn up in large numbers and exercise their democratic and constitutional right to vote for candidates of their choice tomorrow.
Mr Muleya said the protection and enjoyment of the right to vote are fundamental in a constitutional democracy like Zambia and that must be the case during the Lukashya and Mwansabombwe -elections.
He said the Commission has been on the ground monitoring the on-going -elections campaigns and the overall preliminary observation is that all political parties and their candidates were to a large extent able to freely campaign in accordance with the agreed election campaign schedules.
“The initiative the Electoral Commission of Zambia, the Political Parties and the Zambia Police Service to draw up, agree on, observe and manage the election campaign schedules is commendable and must be upheld as one of the best practices during the countdown to the 2021 Presidential and General Elections.
“The Commission however observed some isolated cases of violence, use of insulting language and hate speech bordering on discrimination based on one’s tribe or place of origin during the campaign period. The Commission strongly condemns such acts of lack of respect for other’s human rights and reputation and calls upon stakeholders to take practical steps towards stemming their escalation during the countdown to the 2021 Presidential and General Elections,” he said.
He also implored the Zambia Police Service in Lukashya Constituency to ensure that their efforts are legal, reasonable and proportionate to the legitimate objective of maintaining law, peace and order.
Mr Muleya said the police must desist from taking actions that may reasonably be seen to be disadvantaging some political parties, their candidates and the electorate at large as that is a violation of civil and political rights and a recipe for breakdown of law and order.
“The Commission calls upon politicians and their members to always avoid taking the law into their own hands but allow and respect the police to professionally carryout their constitutional mandate without any form of interference, intimidation or victimisation,” he said.