The President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu has ordered the deployment of the military in Zambia to put a stop to electoral violence ahead of the 12 August general elections in the thick of criticisms by the opposition and other groups.
Mr. Lungu said “I have allowed the Zambia Army, Zambia Air Force and Zambia National Service to help the Zambia Police in dealing with the security situation” and added that troops have already been deployed to some areas in the capital Lusaka and would be sent to other areas in the country should the situation demand so.
The All People’s Congress (APC) party says the move to involve the army is deliberate and is meant to cause “fear and intimidation” among the opposition party.
There have been violent occurrences by the ruling party and opposition supporters across the country in the run-up to the vote.
The president, in deploying the army, made reference to the killing of two ruling party supporters in the capital, saying he would not allow that to repeat itself 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.