Zambia’s electoral body has suspended the holding of mass political rallies ahead of the country’s eagerly awaited general elections set for August.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano said the decision to suspend mass rallies followed recommendations from a technical committee comprising the ECZ, government ministries, the police, civil society groups and media
According to Nshindano, the decision does not, however, preclude political parties from campaigning for the elections.
“Important to note, it is the rallies that have been suspended and NOT campaigns,” the official told journalists in Lusaka on Thursday.
He said the action comes in the wake of a recent spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Zambia.
“Given the conduct of political parties and their lack of adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, we have a moral obligation to safeguard the lives of the people.”
Figures from the Ministry of Health show that the country is slowly sliding towards a third wave of the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with 825 cases and four deaths reported on Thursday alone.
Zambians go to the poll on August 12 to elect a president, members of the National Assembly and local government councillors.