The Human Rights Commission expresses concern over the reports about the attempt by suspected Patriotic Party (PF) cadres to disrupt the broadcasting of a paid radio programme where Democratic Party (DP) President Mr. Harry Kalaba featured in Mporoko District.
The violent acts of the cadres captured in a recorded video circulating on social media where they were harassing DP officials and stormed the radio station to stop live broadcasting of a programmes featuring the DP leader are extremely unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest sense of word as such acts of lawlessness should not be allowed to continue in a democratic country like Zambia, especially at this crucial moment when the campaign period is underway as country draws closer to the presidential and general elections on 12th August 2021.
The enjoyment of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression is at the heart of holding peaceful and fair elections as respect for these fundamental rights and freedoms guarantees a level playing field for all the candidates and a conducive environment for the voters to exercise their right to vote.
The Commission is extremely concerned that party cadres have continued with impunity to storm radio stations with intentions to disrupt live programmes featuring opposition party leaders and have been left scot free. This unfortunate situation sends a wrong message to would-be offenders and gives an impression that the party leadership endorses the violent actions of their members for failing to take disciplinary action against them.
The Commission therefore reiterates its call on the Government and the political party leadership to decisively deal with such acts of violence and lawlessness as they have potential to escalate into widespread political violence and human rights violations and, in turn, destabilise the generally peaceful environment for holding the 2021 general elections.
PRINCIPAL INFORMATION OFFICER
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION