“WHEN efforts to support democracy do not work and fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms are violated, the United States can and does apply visa restrictions, travel bans and financial sanctions,” US embassy Chargé d’Affaires David Young has said
In a statement issued this afternoon, Mr Young said his government apply the measures because it is serious about its commitment to human rights and democratic principles.
He said the US government support a free, fair, transparent, and peaceful democratic process.
Mr Young said his government will hold accountable any individuals who promote violence, undermine electoral processes, engage in fraudulent or corrupt behavior, or otherwise violate democratic rights and the foundations of free elections.
“Zambia has a commendable record of democratic elections. As we approach August 12, I want to urge Zambian citizens to do your patriotic duty and vote for the candidate of your choice. Shun violence. Support the democratic electoral process. We will continue to engage all to work for a free and fair vote,” he said
The US envoy said US government will continue engaging with the Electoral Commission of Zambia to support a transparent process that includes counting, observing, reporting, and publicly announcing results along the way, constituency by constituency to build confidence in the electoral system and process.
“I want to make it clear that there should be no intimidation of voters by cadre groups from either party,” Mr Young said.
He further said police and military should apply the law equally and humanely in defense of the safety and fundamental right of Zambian citizens to vote and participate in the democratic process, including the fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly.
“These are internationally guaranteed human rights that Zambia supports and has signed on to in the UN and other international treaties. On August 12 and the days following, the eyes of all Zambians, and indeed the world, will be watching the actions and the words of Zambia’s candidates, party leaders, cadre mobilizers, police and military officers, and representatives of the state and quasi-independent organizations that conduct elections, rule in the courts, and administer the law,” Mr Young said.