MATERO UPND candidate Tom Michelo has petitioned the election of PF’s Miles Sampa, alleging that the latter was not duly elected because of THE vote-buying, violence and bribery which characterised campaigns in the area.

In a petition filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, Michelo, who has also cited the Electoral Commission of Zambia as the second respondent in the matter, claimed that Sampa’s campaigns in the lead up to the election were conducted without compliance with the provisions and principles of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 as well as the code of conduct.

Michelo alleged that Sampa exerted undue influence by carrying out attacks, through his agents, on him, the UPND offices, party members and some individuals.

“On the 10th of June 2021, Malali Steven, being a member of the Petitioner’s campaign team was assaulted by PF cadres who were part of the first respondent’s (Sampa’s) campaign team. On the 14th of June 2021 and the 10th of July 2021, the same PF cadres, led by one Mr Chileshe popularly known as Cash Money who is a member of the first respondent’s campaign team, under the instructions of the first respondent and a Mr Lee Mukupa, attacked some individuals and UPND party members causing severe injuries, whilst frying to burn the UPND constituency offices,” he stated.

“Between April 2021 and August 12, 2021, a young disgruntled man from Buseko camp, working under the instruction of Cash Money a member of the first respondent’s campaign team and in possession of very dangerous weapons, was sent to the UPND constituency office to cause bodily harm to a named official. He was taken to the police station where he was detained and a docket was opened, he was meant to appear in court but the whole matter went silent as the first respondent negotiated for his release.”

Michelo further claimed that Sampa engaged in vote buying in various wards.

“On the 1st of July 2021, a viral video footage captured the first respondent campaigning and distributing campaign materials to entice the electorate to vote for him. The first respondent by himself, servants, agents and other persons distributed campaign materials and 10kg bags of mealie meal, within Matero Constituency, that were labelled with the first respondent’s name in a bid to solicit votes on the eve of elections, being the 11th day of August 2021. Throughout the election period, the first respondent and members of the first respondent’s campaign team handed people money for the purpose of enticing the electorate to vote for the first respondent,” read the petition.

“Ms Edith Nawakwi affiliated with the PF party, being part of the first respondent’s campaign team, corruptly sneaked in quite a large number of bags of mealie meal at the UCZ Matero Congregation Centre to give to would-be voters using the church grounds, in order to entice the electorate to vote for the first respondent.”

Michelo stated that Sampa held a rally on August 11, addressed by former president Edgar Lungu which was in complete breach of the ECZ directives, ban and guidelines and therefore benefitted from the violation and this consequently had an impact on the result of the election.

He added that on the same date, Sampa and members of his campaign team continued to campaign beyond the 18:00 hours deadline, thereby unfairly advantaging himself to the detriment of the petitioner and the other candidates.

Michelo further alleged that during the campaign period, UPND posters and flags in Matero constituency were consistently removed by PF cadres who were part of Sampa’s campaign team.

He stated that his party agents were consistently not availed the Gen 20 documents which made it difficult for them to verify the vote tally figures.

Michelo claimed that vote counting in most of the Polling stations was not transparent as vote tally figures were added to Sampa’s by pro-PF polling staff.

“One such bizarre incident that took place at the totalling centre at Matero boys hall, was when the polling agents kept writing and filling in what the petitioner believed were Gen20 documents which raised a lot of suspicions. Suspiciously, a Gen20 form was produced by the poll staff at the said polling station which did not have details of the polling station and the polling staff and was not signed by its agents or relevant signatories in the polling stations. The petitioner’s party questioned the second respondent (ECZ), who at first instance denied the document but later adduced a document that had the same vote tally figures,” stated Michelo.

Michelo is now seeking a declaration that Sampa did not conduct the elections with due diligence and care and a declaration that his election as a member of parliament for Matero Constituency is null and void.

He is also seeking a declaration that the illegal practices committed by the Patriotic Front and/or its agents, so affected the election result in Matero Constituency and that the same be nullified.

Further, he is seeking an order for the ballot papers relating to Matero Constituency Parliamentary elections to be scrutinized, verified and recounted, an order for costs and any other relief the Court may deem fit.