from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE deployment of the Zambia Armed Forces to work alongside police is anticipated to curb political violence as preparations for polls hit the final stretch.
Incumbent, President Edgar Lungu, announced the deployment of the Zambia Army, Air Force and National Service after yet another round of clashes.
Defence wing personnel have already been deployed in some parts of the capital, Lusaka, and will be positioned in other parts of the country if the situation demands.
“I have taken this step in order to ensure that the electoral process – the work of the Electoral Commission of Zambia – is not interfered with,” Lungu said.
“Maintaining law and order is a daily chore of the police, but sometimes they need help from other security wings,” he added.
Lungu lamented the alleged killing of two members of his Patriotic Front (PF) in Kanyama, Lusaka this past weekend.
“I’m sad not because the victims were members of my party, but because they were Zambians who didn’t deserve to die in that manner.”
He called for restraint.
“Let us not forget who we are – one Zambia, one nation,” Lungu said.
He faces another challenge from Haikande Hichilema of the United Party for National Development UPND) in the August 12 elections.
“I wish to note the deployment of the Zambia Armed Forces, alongside our Zambian Enforcement officers, as we defend the constitution of Zambia,” Hichilema said.
He said the Forces had an impeccable history in defence of constitutionalism since independence in 1964, and through transitional periods in 1991 and 2011.
“We are confident that officers who distinguish themselves in defending the will of the people, will be recognised by a grateful nation,” Hichilema said.
“In the same vein, I urge the Armed Forces that will be deployed, to deliver fairness and justice in the way they will perform their duties amongst their civilian compatriots.”
Violence afflicted polls in 2011 and 2016 after allegations of rigging.
– CAJ News