VUBWI UPND losing candidate Alphonso Phiri has asked the Chipata High Court to declare the election of Ackleo Banda as Vubwi PF member of parliament null and void, citing electoral malpractice.
When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Ruth Chibbabuka, who was sitting in the Chipata High Court, Phiri told the court that the August 12 general election in which Banda emerged winner was marred by violence and vote-buying.
He stated that many foreigners from Malawi and Mozambique participated in the voting process.
“Elections were not free and fair because our supporters were staying in fear following the beating of our District Youth Chairman Patrick Banda and the Constituency Vice Chairman Blackwell Banda by Patriotic Front cadres,” Phiri told the court.
He further stated that the illegalities which were spread throughout the constituency ranging from food distribution, vote-buying, foreigners voting and issues of violence disadvantaged him from winning the election.
Phiri also accused Banda, who is the first respondent in the matter, of transporting people from Malawi and Mozambique to vote for him in the August general election.
He claimed that foreigners were given some money and instructed to vote for Banda while warning them that there would be cameras in polling stations that would show if they did not vote for him.
“One Malawian who voted was caught with both Malawian and Zambian national identity cards and a voter’s card and after seeing this, we started investigating to find out how many more Malawians and Mozambicans voted in the election,” Phiri testified.
However, during cross-examination, Banda’s lawyer asked Phiri if he knew that Vubwi was declared a hunger-stricken area and that the distribution of food he claims to have been electoral malpractice was done by government through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit and not his client.
In response, Phiri agreed that Vubwi was indeed declared a hunger-stricken area at one point but argued that the distribution was done during campaigns when farmers were also harvesting from their fields.
He was further asked if he had any written communication from the Mozambican government and Malawi to confirm whether the national IDs he confiscated from people and brought before court were the original IDs for the two counties.
In response, Phiri told the court that he did not have any written communication from the two counties to confirm.
He, however, insisted that the national IDs he collected from the foreigners were not fake as they were collected from the owners who confirmed that they were not Zambian citizens.
Phiri who is being represented by Gilbert Lungu of Muleza Mwimbu and Partners sued Acleo Banda as the first respondent and the Electoral Commission of Zambia as the second respondent in the matter.
Banda is on the other hand being represented by Joseph Chirwa, while ECZ is being represented by Henry Mulenga of PHILSONG and Partners.