They say when you are confused or emotional, don’t take action until you regain your composure. Apparently the though of losing power has confused the PF so much that they can’t think properly.
Take the case of banning campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala for example, what does the PF hope to achieve by that? A naïve or silly person can say it is the Electoral Commission of Zambia that has suspended the campaigns. No it is not. It is the PF. The ECZ reports to PF. It is not independent. Such a shame for a former respected judge Esau Chulu to spend his last active years being used by politicians and possibly to bring war to Zambia. Esau Chulu must not even deceive himself for a second, if he will rig elections, the blood that will be shed will be on his head.
Anyway, that is an issue for another time.
By suspending campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala, the PF has to some extent shot itself in the foot.
Let’s start with Namwala. The UPND does not need to campaign in Namwala but huge victory is as certain as the sunrise. It is the PF that needs to campaign that side. So who has been disadvantaged?
May we also ask what criteria was used to ban campaigns in Namwala and not Shiwangandu where violence was recorded first? Was it not in Shiwangandu that the PF wanted to crash the helicopter carrying Hakainde Hichilema and Geoffrey Mwamba? The ECZ must try to be neutral. It does not help them to be so patently pro-PF. It simply takes away the credibility of the ECZ.
It is true that the PF has been sponsoring violence all over the country so that they can use it as an excuse to either cancel elections and remain in power illegally or suspend opposition campaigns.
Reading between the lines of the statement issued by the ECZ when it suspended the campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala on behalf of PF, it is easy to detect the true intent of the suspension.
For the purpose of this argument, the relevant part of the statement reads:
‘During the suspension, there shall be no public rallies, meetings, processions or door to door campaigns. Further, all branded campaign motor vehicles in Lusaka and Namwala Districts should be parked and shall not be used for any purpose.
Campaigns shall be restricted to electronic and print media publicity and hate speech will not be entertained.’
We can bet on Edgar Lungu’s alcohol that the PF will not park any of their branded vehicles.
But out interest is in this paragraph: ‘campaigns shall be restricted to electronic and print media publicity and hate speech will not be entertained.’
This is very evil. The ECZ knows that all the government media cover PF exclusively but only mention the opposition to vilify them. While the Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and Richard Sakala’s toilet paper have been given money to upgrade their attacks on UPND, the Post newspaper has been closed. So what does the ECZ mean when they say campaigns will be restricted to print media? Which print media? Is this not what people mean when they say the ECZ is working for PF?
Almost all ‘community’ and commercial radio stations have been bribed to stop covering the opposition but give space to PF. When they do allow the opposition to campaign, they have to pay K30, 000 per hour. So where will the opposition campaign and at what cost?
Muvi TV could be covering the opposition but Muvi TV is a commercial TV that has to make money to remain in the market. So its content is only accessible by people who can afford subscription and decoder fees.
The banning of campaigns in Lusaka and Namwala is clearly to test the ground. The PF plans to ban campaigns across the country a week before voting and then bombard the whole country with PF messages on ZNBC, radios and newspapers, but block the opposition from any media. This is what the ECZ is doing while working jointly with the PF.
However, looked from another angle, this could be the hand of God. We believe the majority of voters have already made up their minds. Harassing and killing opposition supporters actually makes the undecided voters sympathize with the victims. Banning the opposition from TV, newspapers, and radio could possibly work for some people in rural areas. It certainly won’t work in favor of PF in towns when people have other means of accessing information. By subjecting people to PF propaganda on ZNBC when people want to watch Telemundo, is a very good way of de-campaigning PF.