Zambian President Edgar Lungu says he is ready to use draconian means to ensure the country remains peaceful after next week’s presidential, parliamentary, local and referendum elections. Lungu from the ruling Patriotic Party says he has intelligence that members of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) plan to cause havoc if the party is unable to win the polls. But in an interview with VOA, Canisius Banda, deputy leader of the UPND, says Lungu’s statement is unfortunate and regrettable. He says the president has the backing of the constitution to ensure the unity of Zambia. Banda, however, says the president would rather plunge the country into tension, violence and chaos if he uses draconian means to enforce peace.
“President Lungu is speaking out of turn. Going the draconian way by its very definition is breaching peace. There is relative peace in this country at the moment and the president just has to uphold the constitution that he swore to uphold on his inauguration,” he said. “There is no provision in the republican constitution for him to begin to be illegal and to go the draconian way as he says. That is illegal…It’s repugnant [and] we do not expect a sitting head of state to behave in such a manner.”
“All we are calling for are free and fair elections…If they are free and fair, even if President Lungu won, we would hold our peace. We would say ‘look democracy has prevailed.’ But there is perversion of democracy here….,” he added.
Banda says supporters of the governing PF party are to blame for the escalating violence in the ongoing campaigns in the run-up to next week’s elections and referendum. He says the UPND has evidence of PF cadres attacking members of the opposition party and tearing down its campaign posters in various parts of the country.
Full Article: Zambia’s Lungu Issues Warning on Election-linked Violence.