General elections will be held in Zambia on 12 August 2021 to elect the President and National Assembly.
On 15 May 2021 Electoral Commission of Zambia chair Esau Chulu launched the start of the election campaign. However politicians were advised to minimise large crowd gatherings during campaign meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Assembly was dissolved on 12 May by President Edgar Lungu to provide a level playing field in the campaign. However, Lungu remains in office as per constitutional requirements until the new president is elected.[
Violence and virus cases rise
On 26 May Lungu launched his own campaign. He also directed the police service and Ministry of Health to ensure enforcement of the COVID-19 pandemic health regulations and guidelines without fear or favour. On 3 June, due to rise in COVID 19 cases, the Electoral Commission suspended campaign rallies again to avoid large crowds. On 15 June the Electoral Commission banned the Patriotic Front and United Party for National Development from campaigning in Lusaka, Mpulungu, Namwala and Nakonde due to political violence. The Commission also banned all roadshows across the country to curb the transmission of COVID-19.
Hakainde Hichilema blocked
On 28 July UPND Secretary General Batuke Imenda released a statement that the party was disappointed with government institutions being used by President Lungu to block UPND presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema from campaigning. On 30 July Hichilema and his campaign team were prevented from entering Chipata and detained on the runway of Chipata Airport. Before Hichilema’s arrival in Chipata, police had teargassed his supporters. On 3 August police in Mbala blocked Hichilema and his campaign team from entering the town, which police claiming that he needed a permit to enter.
Sources and further reading:
Zambia deploys army to curb violence ahead of elections
Expert: This lets Zambian president decide who votes and who doesn’t