Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Sanday Chongo Kabange in Hong Kong

Violent and bloody clashes have erupted in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka less than two weeks before Zambians elect a new and firth president.

Supporters of the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) clashed Friday within Lusaka’s Central Business District, disrupting business for close to two hours.

Young democrats "cadres" clash over campaign posters. PHOTO: zambianwatchdog.com

Main city central highways like Lumumba, Freedom Way, Ben Bella and Chachacha Roads were blocked as they turned into battle grounds likened only to Libya’s Benghazi unrest.

The clashes in Lusaka erupted over the removal of rival campaign posters by the cadres of the two political parties.

Unconfirmed reports say one person has been killed in the election standoff that has tensed up the mood in the southern Africa state.

Supporters of the opposition PF are claiming that one of its supporters was killed by MMD cadres in a nearby south-western slum of Kanyama and this prompted the riots.

The claim of the death by the PF is yet to be confirmed.

Business was interrupted and shops were closed as business operators and residents ran for cover amid mass unrest in the Zambian capital.

Some cadres are said to have possessed machetes and other dangerous weapons.

Fears of looting have heightened and police have since been placed on high alert.

No arrests have been made, reported one private radio station in Lusaka.

Zambia Police spokesperson Ndandula Siamana has warned that any person perpetrating violence during and after the September 20 vote would face the law.

For the first time in Zambia’s election history, the U.S State Department has warned its citizens to be alert when getting into Zambia during the election period as signs of violent polls were eminent.

Related link: http://www.africanews.com/site/ZAMBIA_Cadres_clash_ahead_of_poll/list_messages/39602

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Sanday Chongo Kabange in Berlin, Germany

Zambia’s President Rupiah Banda has put this year’s general vote on Tuesday September 20, 2011.

Zambia is expected to host presidential, parliamentary and local government votes this fall, three years after the death of then head of state Levy Mwanawasa who died of ill health while in office in August 2008.

Incumbent Zambian President and top contender under the governing Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) stable, Rupiah Banda announced the Election Day Thursday during a live broadcast to the nation.

President Banda put elections day on Tuesday September 20, 2011. PHOTO: zambia-online.com

“I have today 28th July, 2011 signed the Electoral General Elections Date of Poll Declaration Order – Statutory Instrument no. 76 of 2011. Further, I have also signed the Local Government Elections Date and Times of Poll Order – Statutory Instrument no. 77 of 2011.  This means the Local Government elections will be held together with the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. I can now announce to the nation that the elections will be held on Tuesday 20th September, 2011,” said Banda.

The announcement of the September 20 polls comes after prolonged calls from the opposition and civil society groups that have repeatedly accused Banda of delaying the announcement of the polling date in order to suit his campaign trail.

Banda also announced the immediate dissolution of the National Assembly.

“Today, 28th July, 2011, I have signed the Proclamation of the Dissolution of the National Assembly – Statutory Instrument No. 75 of 2011 – pursuant to Article 88, of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia. This means Parliament stands dissolved as of today.”

He further added: “The Dissolution of Parliament consequently means that Cabinet is equally dissolved.  All Cabinet and Deputy Ministers no longer occupy their positions.  I, as President, and his honour the Vice-President will continue to hold office until a new government is sworn in and assumes office.  This is what our Constitution provides.”

Noting that Zambia’s Constitution dictates that from the date of dissolution of Parliament a general election must take place within 90 days, he said:

“During the interim period the organs of state will continue to function. I, as President will exercise the executive powers directly with the assistance of the Vice-President and other Government officials.   The civil service will continue its work to ensure that all services are maintained.  The permanent secretaries shall assist me in running Government during this period”.

He added, “The police and the armed forces will continue to safeguard the sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Zambia.  Essential workers, including doctors, nurses and teachers will still deliver their vital services”.

Banda’s main challengers in the September 20 votes are leaders of the Patriotic Front (PF) Michael Sata and United Party for National Development (UPND) Hakainde Hichilema.

Both top contenders lost to Banda in the 2008 polls but this year, political analysts predict a tougher race amongst the top three contenders.

Regional, continental and international observers will monitor Zambia’s vote.