Zambia: Government Suspends Election Campaigns
In response to Zambia's Electoral Commission suspending campaign activities in the capital following clashes between rival political factions and a violent police response, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Freedom House urges all political parties, their leaders and their supporters to heed the Electoral Commission's appeal for peace and for assurances that national and local elections can take place as scheduled in August without further incidents," said Lynn Fredriksson, director for Southern Africa programs. "Campaign violence undermines Zambia’s democracy."
Following threats to suspend public campaigns after violent clashes between supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and its main opposition the United Party for National Development (UPND) in June, the Electoral Commission on July 10 suspended all campaign activities in Lusaka and Namwala for a period of 10 days.
The violence came after a series of attacks that targeted journalists, government interference with media companies, and the government forcing the closure of the main independent newspaper, The Post, in June.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.