from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – THE killing of a senior official of the ruling party on election day has added to the apprehension in Zambia in the wake of violence-marred polls.
Jackson Kungo, Patriotic Front chairman for North-Western Province, was killed on Thursday in a murder incumbent, President Edgar Lungu has blamed on the United Party for National Development (UPND).
It is alleged he was killed by residents on suspicion of being in possession of pre-marked ballot papers.
Emmanuel Chihili, a brother of another provincial leader was killed in other violent skirmishes reported in the North-Western, Southern and Western provinces.
Lungu declared elections in these places had 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,” Lungu said.
“Who is causing this mayhem? It is the opposition at the centre of it,” he alleged.
“It is, of course, clear that these two Zambians have been brutally murdered by members of the opposition simply for holding different political views.”
Lungu has directed the army commanders to reinforce troops in the three provinces.
“The job to arrest the killers lies with security officers. I, therefore, want to urge all citizens to stay calm. And to our members, do not retaliate,” he said.
UPND, led by Haikande Hichilema, denied his party was behind the killings.
“We wish to categorically dispel rumours that UPND members killed Mr Jackson Kungo,” Brian Ndumba, UPND Deputy Chairman for Elections, said.
“This is not only false but malicious as it is not possible to differentiate between a UPND member and any other during the voting process.”
Ndumba urged party members to remain “calm but vigilant.”
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Friday said it began receiving results but was yet to receive consolidated results at Constituency level.
Patrick Nshindano, ECZ Chief Electoral Officer, said the commission would be announcing the results by constituency.
“The commission remains committed to ensuring that the final results are declared within 72 hours from the close of the last polling station,” he said.
The last polling station closed at 05h00 on Friday.
Some 8 million Zambians were registered.
– CAJ News