The police in Zambia on Sunday appealed for calm following a spate of violence experienced in some parts of the country following elections held on Thursday.
Peoples Gazette on Saturday reported that opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was in an early lead according to results released by the country’s electoral body. President Edgar Lungu has already condemned the election as not free and fair.
Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata-Katongo said the police have observed an emerging tendency where violence has erupted as a result of others failing to contain emotions and ending up attacking those seen celebrating the victory of their candidates.
“As members of the public continue receiving or waiting for results at different levels, we appeal to them to remain calm and celebrate their victory of their preferred candidates responsibly and peacefully without breaching the peace,” she said in a statement.
The police spokesperson said supporters of the ruling and governing party exchanged gunfire in the northern parts of the country on Saturday leaving one person with gunshot wounds, while a similar incident happened in Lusaka, the country’s capital.
She added that supporters of the main opposition, the United Party for National Development, were attacked by supporters of the ruling party as they celebrated the victory of their parliamentary candidate.
She said it was unfortunate that some people who had legally obtained firearms had started abusing such firearms whenever they have political altercations.
“We further warn those with intentions of causing violence such as damaging government and private property during or after the electoral process that they risk being arrested and prosecuted,” she added.
Zambia held general elections on August 12, which attracted a huge turnout. However, the announcement of presidential results has been delayed, causing anxiety in the country.
The electoral body has since attributed this to the huge turnout of voters and a large number of presidential candidates.
Sixteen presidential candidates participated in this year’s elections.