OPPOSITION leader, Herbert Chamuka of the Ideas Party of Democracy (IPD) believes the ongoing Zambian elections are setting the tone for how the 2023 Zimbabwean election will unfold.
Zambia’s elections have been marred by claims of violence and vote-rigging as the incumbent, Edgar Lungu seeks to retain power for a second term in office.
On Thursday video footage of PF cadres caught on camera trying to rig the elections surfaced on social media causing quite a stir, a move which the Zambian government rejected.
Chamuka said Zimbabweans and the government are watching with keen interest the events unfolding in the neighbouring country as this is likely to happen in 2023 when the country goes for its general elections.
“What we are saying is that why are Zimbabweans so interested in Zambia’s elections? It’s because they know that Zimbabwe can copy Zambia but if the country holds free and fair elections, then Zimbabwe will also follow suit because it will be embarrassing to be the odd one out in the region,” the South African based politician told 263Chat.
He said it is disheartening that the current events in Zambia do not signify democracy in the region and the continent.
“These elections have shown that there is no democracy in Africa. We have been saying that SADC, AU and UN should look into the Zambia elections because Zambia is under the UN.
“We encourage the President of Zambia to respect the outcome of the elections and map a smooth transition should he lose. He should ensure there is no rigging and set an example of how to hold elections,” Chamuka said.
President Lungu’s administration on Thursday shut down the internet and deployed more troops claiming that the election was being rigged by the opposition.
Lungu accused Hichilema’s United Party of National Development (UPND), of orchestrating the violence which claimed the death of two PF members.
Lungu added: “It is, of course, clear that these two Zambians have been brutally murdered by members of the opposition simply for holding different political views.
“Yesterday, during my address to the nation, I said: “As long as I remain, President, I will not countenance violence.
“I have, therefore, directed the Army Commander to reinforce troops in the three provinces and not to leave any stone unturned in ensuring peace is restored, and ensure that this kind of anarchy does not spread to other parts of the country,” concluded Lungu
Hichilema who is confident to win the presidential election after taking an early lead in the presidential race also took to social media to criticize Lungu for shutting down the internet and deploying military reinforcements.
“Good morning Zambia! Data coming in is very positive and the will of the people is clear.
“But be alert when an outgoing regime panics, it can resort to desperate measures. So stay calm and focused. We will protect our vote with peace and love in our hearts. Change is here.
“We call on ZICTA to immediately unblock the internet so citizens can follow the electoral process and continue with their lives unhindered. It’s a shame that even the PF who ordered the shutdown are issuing unbridled statements through VPN,” tweeted Hichilema.
Zimbabwe’s leading opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa commended the voter turnout by the youth in Zambia.
“Citizens of Zambia especially the youth are active and vigilant in protecting the vote. That’s encouraging. Watching and following with keen interest,” he tweeted Friday.
More than seven million Zambians voted in what many believe to be Zambia’s closest presidential elections. □