PRESIDENT Lungu has condemned the harassment of Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officials who were deployed to conduct the voter registration exercise in Central Province.
The President has ordered the police to arrest the perpetrators of the assault regardless of their political affiliation.
Mr Lungu said the act is an infringement on democratic rights and voter processes.
The President said this here yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Senior Chief Mumena of Solwezi at the traditional leader’s palace.
“Police must arrest anyone breaking the law from whatever genesis and I do not see why anyone should attack ECZ officials. Zambians have a right to vote and elections are an opportunity for people to vote, so police should do their part,” Mr Lungu said.
He also urged traditional leaders to continue facilitating and supporting the voter registration exercise through sensitising and encouraging their subjects to register as voters.
Police in Kabwe yesterday summoned and questioned Chief Mwinuna of Mpongwe on the Copperbelt for allegedly assaulting a team of police and ECZ officials deployed to the area to conduct the mobile voter registration exercise.
Central Province commissioner of police Lombe Kamukoshi said in an interview yesterday that the police officers and ECZ officials were deployed to Mpongwe to conduct the mobile voter registration exercise.
Ms Kamukoshi said Chief Mwinuna was summoned along with his son Kakomba, 29, for allegedly confiscating equipment and materials from the team on Sunday between 22:00 hours and 23:00 hours.
“We are still investigating this matter and what we have been told is that the equipment and materials which the officers are using for this exercise are believed to be in the chief’s palace,” Ms Kamukoshi said.
She said the matter was reported to police in Ngabwe district, which is in Central Province and shares a boundary with chief Mwinuna’s chiefdom.
“When the chief was summoned to the station, he informed officers that police and ECZ officers did not ask for his permission to conduct the exercise in his village,” Ms Kamukoshi said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has said there is need to ensure that Zambians actively participate at various levels of governance to enhance democracy.
“This [democracy] is a process that our parents fought so hard for and we should participate at various levels of governance,” he said.
The President urged chiefs to remind Government about some pending development projects.
He said there are many projects going on throughout the country which Government does not want to neglect.
President Lungu later addressed multitudes at Mumena arena and at Mukumbi grounds to drum up support for Patriotic Front (PF) Solwezi West parliamentary candidate Martin Mbaya.
Mr Lungu said he is hopeful and confident that the PF will emerge victorious in the parliamentary by-election.
And senior chief Mumena said he is happy with President Lungu’s able “hand of governance and inclusiveness”.
The traditional leader said chiefs are also impressed with and grateful for their interaction with the head of State.
“And the development projects across the country are showing commitment of your leadership. We are also grateful for the new district [Kalumbila] which you recently created,” he said.
Senior Chief Mumena is also hopeful that the voter registration exercise will yield the desired results.
And speaking when he addressed a mammoth rally at Mukumbi arena here yesterday, President Lungu urged residents of Solwezi West to vote for Mr Mbaya.
Mr Lungu asked the residents to be patient with Government as it implements various development projects throughout the country.
He also said Government intends to build universities in all the provinces, including North-Western Province.
And President Lungu has challenged UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to bring forth solutions that will help the country tackle its economic challenges as opposed to criticising Government unnecessarily.
The President said he is ready to beat Mr Hichilema in the 2016 general elections because Zambians have lost confidence in the opposition leader.
Earlier, President Lungu paid a courtesy call on Senior Chief Makumbi Ibaloli of Solwezi before addressing a rally at Mukumbi arena.