President Edgar Lungu has deployed the army to quell political violence ahead of Zambia’s general elections set for August 12.In a statement on Sunday, two days after two supporters of the governing Patriotic Front (PF) were killed by suspected members of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), Lungu said the military had been deployed to ensure Zambians are allowed to vote under peaceful conditions.
“In order to curb the political violence we have witnessed in the past two days, I have allowed the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service to help the Zambia police in dealing with the security situation,” Lungu said.
He added: “Defence wing personnel have already been deployed in some parts of Lusaka and will be deployed in other parts of the country if the situation demands so.”
PF and UPND supporters have clashed over the past few weeks in the capital Lusaka as well as the Northern, Southern and Muchinga provinces as political tensions escalate ahead of the watershed polls.
The tripartite polls would see Zambians electing the country’s next president, members of the National Assembly and local government councillors.
Lungu is seeking another term in office and faces the stiff challenge of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.