Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

28 February 2013

Zambia: Damage Control - Sata Praises ECZ On Livingstone By-Election

President Michael Chilufya Sata has issued a statement to commend the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for stopping the Livingstone by-election in what observers consider is a damage control ploy following the reaction by ruling Patriotic Front campaign manager Obvious Mwaliteta who condemned the development yesterday.

Mwaliteta had condemned the postponement of the election alleging the Electoral Commission of Zambia had played in the hands of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) who he accused of being unprepared for the polls.

However, ECZ announced it was postponing the Livingstone by-election due to the violence that had erupted in the tourist capital leading to the death of PF official Harrison Chanda and eventual arrest of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, his two lawmakers Garry Nkombo and Request Muntanga as well as 30 other party officials.

Hichilema's arrest also triggered violence in Livingstone forcing residents and tourist scampering for safety.

This morning President Sata issued a statement ECZ had valued lives more than elections by postponing the Livingstone parliamentary by-election.

"This should demonstrate to all that the ECZ is operating independently and that violence will not be condoned. It is disgraceful and cruel that those who killed want to pretend to be victims," President Sata said.

"We lost a member in Rufunsa at the hands of UPND; we have lost another member in Livingstone at the hands of UPND yet again. Clearly, these calculated acts of brutality are at the behest of the enemies of democracy whose political thrust is abominable hate and intolerance."

President Sata said the UPND leadership ought to be mindful that violence breeds violence and no one will benefit from a culture of bloodshed in politics.

"As a civilised society, our central aim should be to compete on ideas and values; not insults, hate, intolerance and violence. No doubt, the UPND have decided that violence is profitable for them, which is why they shamelessly market their so-called 'Mapatizya formular', which is a coded language for attacking and maiming political opponents," President Sata said.

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