Deputy Inspector General of Police Dr Solomon Jere has issued an order banning opposition political parties from holding campaign rallies ahead of the two by-elections in Livingstone and Mpongwe on February 28.
Dr Jere issued the order on Sunday after President Michael Sata completed his rallies in both constituencies.
He said opposition political parties must restructure their campaigns and not hold public rallies in what many view as a total disregard of the electoral code of conduct.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia does not permit any political party to campaign 48 hours before poll day and all vote canvassing is supposed to end on Tuesday. But Dr Jere wanted opposition political parties to stop holding meeting immediately President Sata completed his tours on Sunday.
Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) described Dr Jere’s directive as cries of a desperate man panicking on behalf of the ruling party.
Thursday’s by-election will be contested by PF, MMD, UPND, UNIP and NAREP. In Livingstone, the UPND is fielding Regina Musokotwane, the PF are fielding Lawrence Evans while MMD has Siansuntwe. In Mpongwe, MMD has Miniver Mutesa, UPND are fielding Rabson Chilufya while Gabriel Namulambe, formerly MMD, is re-contesting on PF ticket.