Chief Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai has called on all candidates and supporters across the country to respect each other during the campaign period and not to incite violence and trouble.
“Elections are meant to be free and fair where citizens get the opportunity to choose their leader. There are rivalries in any contest whether it be politics or sports but we must always respect the rules of the game,” Mr Sinai said.
Mr Sinai made the comments following reports of an incident that happened last Friday in Okapa where there was a clash between the supporter of sitting MP Saki Soloma and the public which resulted in the burning down of the convoy of vehicles belonging to the local Member.
“I appeal to all citizens to respect one another during the campaign period. Candidates must use the time and opportunity to spell out your policies and voters must listen to their policy statements that would assist in making informed choices and decisions when casting your vote. No one should take things personal and incite trouble just because you don’t like personalities or group of people. This is a democratic country and let be mature and responsible in our thinking and have respect for others in the way we conduct ourselves,” he said.
“Let’s be civilized and do things the right way. The only way to show dissent is in the ballot box and not by use of force and intimidation. If you don’t like a candidate, you have that opportunity now to make your choice and not by confrontation.”
The Commissioner further warned those individuals going around destroying candidates’ posters and election banners put up by political parties and candidates as such acts constitute and electoral offense and individuals can be arrested and fined or jailed once they are caught.
“I urge all citizens to respect campaign posters and electoral materials put up by political parties and candidates and stop pulling them down or burn them. It is an electoral office and if anyone is caught engaged in such illegal acts, they can be arrested and fined or imprisoned for two years,” he said.