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Following the killing of a member of the ruling party’s youth cadres at a polling station yesterday, the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR) has called for a full investigation, rejecting the government’s premature accusations against opposition parties.

On November 8, 2012, between 16:30 and 17:00 at a basic school polling station in Runfunsa, Mr. Crispin Menyani Zulu, a member of the Patriotic Front youth cadres, was allegedly stabbed to death.  The incident occurred near the closing of the polls for the local bye-elections.  Conflicting media reports have emerged as to who was responsible for the crime.

President Michael Sata has already released a press statement blaming the two opposition parties for the killing, despite the fact that the police have not completed any investigation or made any arrests.

“We condemn in the strongest terms possible these reckless statements by President Sata, who in the past has been responsible for unleashing forces of political violence upon the Zambian people,” said Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer acting on behalf of the CDDR.  “For the president to accuse any political party prior to the completion of a full investigation represents an abuse of power and a risk of further destabilization.”

A report published on the news website Zambian Watchdog has cited witnesses who indicated that the violence may have been the result of infighting among the PF cadres over money.

“It is deeply disappointing that within hours of losing a human life, President Sata sought to score political points,” said Mr. Amsterdam.  “As a leader who has released violent convicted felons like Judge Ngoma and has sent busloads of violent cadres to harass voters in Rufunsa, Mr. Sata is hardly in any position to condemn the opposition.  We must allow law enforcement officials and the legal system the opportunity to perform their duties.”

More information on the CDDR’s activities can be read at http://cddr-zambia.org.

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