Speaking to party members at the Chipata Trades Training Institute today, President Lungu ordered that no acts of violence should be tolerated in forthcoming parliamentary and local by-elections on April 12.
He said the ruling party would ensure none of its members and supporters engaged in violence in its name and directed PF secretary general Davis Mwila to strictly carry out this directive.
“We took over government without using violence. We are a peaceful party. No one…none of our youths, Secretary-General,must be allowed to commit violence in the upcoming elections. If there will be any acts of violence, let it not be from us. People reject violent parties and we saw this in the case of UNIP when vigilantes committed acts of violence. We saw this when the MMD tolerated violence and I don’t want PF to end up like that. Some of you who caused that violence are here and I want you to change,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State privately discussed electoral violence with Mwila and Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo and later made public instructions “so that no one is left with any doubt where he stands on the matter”, accordant to State House spokesperson Amos Chanda.
“Within PF, we have agreed that there should be no ferrying of party cadres from outside the elections areas but if anyone from other parties do, let them ensure those campaigners don’t transport violence to voting areas,” President Lungu said.
He further warned that police were under strict instructions to act decisively against any perpetrators of electoral violence.
Meanwhile, President Lungu condemned tribalism in some parties and cautioned the PF “not to copy those bad habits” because he had heard that in certain areas, some PF members were segregating on the basis of ethnicity.
“What a shame! That is not the PF I know. That is not the PF of our founder Michael Sata. I won’t let down his soul be letting his legacy destroyed by foreign elements. Where he is, he proud of the progress we have made to grow his party,” he said.
President Lungu also said the PF had decided that national dialogue would be institutionalized via an Act of Parliament, which called for public support but warned that “unelected detractors must be ready to obey the will of the people and not undermine the process”.
“Notwithstanding that we won the elections with clear majority above the constitutional threshold, we still want to talk to others but when they decide that they will paralyze the country, we won’t let them,” said President Lungu.