Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) is in receipt of an unpleasant electoral report in Lubansenshi Constituency in Luwingu District of Northern Province where a newly appointed Luwingu District Commission engaged himself in electoral campaigns for the ruling party candidate Mr. George Mwamba.
This incensed suspected UPND cadres who descended on and assaulted him and FODEP is being informed that the DC, who was rushed to Kasama for treatment, was spotted mobilizing voters for the ruling party candidate.
Reports from FODEP monitors in Lubansenshi indicate that police last night raided and tear-gased Luena Parish in Lubansenshi in search of UPND candidate, Mr. Patrick Mucheleka who is currently in hiding and being sought by the police in the area, on suspicion that he incited his cadres to beat the DC. Five suspected UPND cadres and one person for being in possession of eight voters’ cards have been arrested by the police leaving the DC scot-free.
It will be unfair and unprofessional on the part of the police to leave the DC who caused the electoral mayhem in Lubansenshi and only pursue those who tried to remind the DC to respect his role as a civil servant and also adhere to the Presidential direction.
Police should also restrain themselves from raiding places of worship as it is against international practice to raid such places which are considered sacred. In addition, Police should immediately stop pursuing Mr. Mucheleka who is candidate in this by-election before they are blamed for aiding other candidates to rob him of electoral victory.
Further, FODEP calls on the Police to also arrest the DC who was engaged in active political campaigns disregarding the Presidential and Vice-Presidential direction instructing civil servants including DCs not to engage in partisan politics.
In as much as police are required in an election area to provide security, law and order, FODEP is concerned that a huge number of them could instill fear on the electorate and intimidate their full participation in the electoral process, a situation which is currently obtaining in Lubansenshi.
FODEP also demands that political parties occupying school premises should vacate the premises to pave way for the re-opening of schools so that they don’t inconvenience the teaching and learning process at those schools.
FODEP calls on all concerned parties to exercise restraint and respect the provision of Electoral Code of Conduct as campaigns heats up both in Solwezi West and Lubansenshi ahead of September 24, 2015, if the two bye-elections were to remain calm, peaceful, free and fair.
FODEP would like to condemn the use of DCs and police to win bye-elections as witnessed in Livingstone, Mulobezi, Mangango and now Lubansenshi as it denigrate the principles of a fair playing field in the electoral process.
FODEP will continue to update the nation as it receives reports from the constituencies where by-elections are taking place.