HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has ordered the deployment of the military to suppress electoral violence ahead of the 12 August general elections – amid criticism by the opposition and other groups.
“I have allowed the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service to help the Zambia Police in dealing with the security situation,” Mr Lungu said.
He said troops had already been deployed to some areas in the capital Lusaka and would be sent to other areas in the country “if the situation demands so”.
The All People’s Congress (APC) party says the move to involve the army is intended to cause “fear and intimidation” among the opposition.
There have been incidents of violence by the ruling party and opposition supporters across the country in the run-up to the vote.
The president, in deploying the army, cited the killing of two ruling party supporters in the capital, saying he would not allow that to be repeated elsewhere in the country.
The electoral body has said it is investigating the incident and will take action against those found responsible.
The president is running for a second term in the elections.
His main opponent is Hakainde Hichilema who has unsuccessfully contested for the presidency five times.