Political violence should urgently be addressed-LAZ

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The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) says the political violence being experienced in the country can degenerate into chaos and create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among voters.

LAZ president George Chisanga said this therefore calls for institutions charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order to control the situation.

Mr. Chisanga said it was undeniable that all forms of electoral malpractices, including violence, fear and intimidation, have the potential to take credibility and honour out of an electoral process.

He has since called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to convene an urgent meeting of political parties participating in the forthcoming presidential elections to resolve the problem of electoral violence.

He said the meeting must be attended by LAZ, the Inspector General of Police, members of civil society and the church adding that all these institutions should be on hand to offer counsel needed to address the scourge.

Mr. Chisanga stated in a statement to ZANIS today that the violence threatens to undermine the very essence of a free, fair and credible election.

He said the matter requires urgent attention by all stakeholders.

He further said it was manifestly clear that the lawlessness being exhibited by the cadres of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) was on the upswing despite the efforts employed by the leadership of the two parties to stem the hideous acts.

The LAZ president noted with concern that despite the parties leadership condemning the reported violence in Shiwang’andu and Mongu and calling on the cadres to be civil during campaigns, the advice has not been heeded.

Mr. Chisanga said it was unfortunate that the cadres have remained resolute in their quest to employ violence and hate speech as the modus operandi for campaigning for their respective candidates.

He said the news of the serious injuries suffered by a named UPND cadre at the hands of a named PF cadre in Mongu has brought to the fore the urgent need to have a national response to acts of violence.