The president of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said elections have not been free and fair in some parts of the country where there was violence. Lungu has since deployed more soldiers across the country following reports of violence on the voting day, 12 August. Lungu accuses the opposition of violence. In a series of posts on Twitter, Lungu said:
I received with shock and great sadness the report about the killing in cold blood of Jackson Kungo, who was my party’s chairman for North-Western Province, and a brother of provincial Deputy Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chihili.
I’m also appalled by the amount of mayhem witnessed in North-Western, some parts of Westen, and Southern provinces. Clearly, the elections in these places have not been free and fair.
When people say elections were not free and fair, they usually accuse the ruling party, but look at what is happening in these places! Who is causing this mayhem? It is the opposition at the center of it.
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.”
Less than 24 hours, later we experience such brutal incidents orchestrated by our opponents, who want to rule Zambia by force. But I will not take kindly to these evil schemes. I will ensure the lives of innocent citizens are protected.
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.
The job to arrest the killers lies with security officers. I, therefore, want to urge all citizens to stay calm. To our members, do not retaliate. I know it hurts but some culprits have been arrested and the rest will be found. Let us all remain peaceful during this period.
On behalf of the government, my family and on my own behalf, I wish to tender heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families and pray for God’s comfort and strength during this trying period. God bless our great nation.
Last week, Lungu deployed the military to curb escalating political violence that started before the presidential and parliamentary elections.
The deployment came after two supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front party were hacked to death with machetes on Fridayby attackers suspected to be members of the main opposition party.
Observers say Lungu has been ignoring cases of violence directed at opposition members.
Lungu has also received heavy criticism for restricting the use of internet on the election day. Reports suggest that Zambia blocked WhatsApp messaging on Thursday, with a government source saying the move was as a result of “fear that some negative elements might use the internet to incite and organize protests.”