“The government must take a firm and decisive action on curbing the continued political hooliganism and violence which are infringing on the fundamental freedoms and human rights of citizens to freely participate in the public affairs of the country,” Mweelwa Muleya, Chief of Information, Education and Training with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) said in a statement.

ZambiaThe statement follows an incident on Saturday where supporters of the governing Patriotic Front disregarded aviation regulations and stormed the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport in Ndola city, Copperbelt Province, in order to stop a former party senior member from disembarking from a plane.

The aircraft, carrying Miles Sampa, who resigned last week from the governing party and was scheduled to announce his new party, failed to park at the apron at the airport after unruly supporters stormed the runway in order to beat him up.

Sampa, a key member of the party’s supreme organ, the Central Committee, and one of its founder members, said he decided to resign from the party he helped form due to intolerance, hate, vengeance and violent conducts towards party members.

He has since formed a new political party, the Democratic Front.

The HRC said the conduct of the governing party supporters who blocked the plane and prevented their former senior party member from launching his party constitutes a gross violation of his political rights.

“The illegal action also violates the constitutional rights of citizens who may have been interested in receiving information and ideas from him in order to make an informed decision and consequently choice in their voting,” Muleya added.

According to the human rights body, the invasion of an airport demonstrates high and dangerous levels of impunity of political violence and undermines the rule of law.

It also particularly expressed concerns over the disruption of political meetings of opposition political parties and a growing systemic pattern of human rights violations in the country.

Zambia will hold general elections on August 11 amid concerns from opposition political parties that the playing field is not leveled.

While opposition political parties are being stopped from holding meetings through a draconian law, the Public Order Act, the governing party members are freely holding meetings. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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