Zambian Leader Warns of ‘Draconian Measures’ Over Poll Violence

  • Africa’s second-biggest copper producer set to vote on Aug. 11
  • Lungu’s PF party facing strong challenge from opposition UPND

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu cautioned he will implement “draconian measures” if violence continues ahead of the Aug. 11 election.

“If they push me against the wall, I will sacrifice democracy for peace,” Lungu said on Monday in comments at a campaign rally broadcast by Lusaka-based Hot FM on Tuesday. “If it means using draconian measures under the law as they may be applicable in a situation, I will apply them.”

The president also urged poll observers and monitors to be objective “because we might reach a point where I will say enough is enough.”

Africa’s second-largest copper producer goes to vote with Lungu having led the country of more than 16 million people since January 2015, when he won an election to succeed Michael Sata, who died in office. His Patriotic Front party faces a strong challenge from Hakainde Hichilema’s United Party for National Development, which he beat by less than 28,000 votes last year.

Hichilema has also called for an end to violence, saying he receives reports of attacks on a daily basis. “Violence stands against everything we are as a party and everything we want for our great nation. It is abhorrent,” he said in an e-mailed statement on July 30.

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