Vernon Mwanga says it is unprecedented for a party that has just formed government to start campaigning 4 years ahead of the next election.
And VJ says only the courts of law can make someone accept election results.
Speaking when he featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday, VJ observed that Ministers were already campaigning for an election which was four years away.
“Well, 2021 is four years away and it’s coming whether we like it or not. You can see from what is happening that the ruling party; they have already started campaigning but the others are not allowed to campaign because of the Threatened State of Emergency or because of the misapplication of the Public Order Act by police. So there are already issues which are coming out as a result of that. You know I was watching before I came on the programme, campaign is being done by PF Ministers and officials with a view to 2021 which is four years away and this is unprecedented in the history of this country,” VJ said.
He said it was only fair that the opposition be allowed to campaign as well.
“So these are the issues which need to be discussed through a process of dialogue as to how to level the playing field for all political parties in this country so that if one party is campaigning then all parties must be allowed to campaign freely without interference so that we don’t have accusations being labeled of unfair application of laws which are only intended for certain sections of the community or certain political parties with an exclusion of the ruling party and whoever is in office should not use the advantages of incumbency to disadvantage the others,” VJ said.
And when asked if the 2016 elections where free and fair, VJ said he did not really know since the election petition was not heard but noted that it was not up to an individual to force someone to accept results.
“I don’t really know if the elections were free and fair because I was not involved in the elections of 2016 but the people who were involved raised issues which should have been heard in Court and unfortunately those issues were not heard and so, we will never know what those issues are until or unless the petition is reopened and heard by the Constitutional Court. I have been involved in elections for a very long time as you can very well imagine and believe that no one goes into elections believing that they are going to lose,” Mwaanga said.
“If you go in an election that you are going to lose then don’t go into it in the first place. You go into an election believing that you are going to win and that if you fail to win as a result of certain irregularities which you may have observed, there is a Court process to deal with these irregularities where you can present evidence before a court of law for it to decide whether you have a valid point or not. So it is not up to your opponent in that race to tell you to accept the results of an election, no! That is a function of the courts, to be able decide based on the evidence provided.”
VJ also said PF and UPND were responsible for the tension in the country because of their different feelings about the 2016 election results.
“We have two issues to deal with here, on the part of President [Edgar] Lungu and PF, they believe that UPND should recognise the outcome of the elections of 2016 and that HH should recognise Lungu as the President of the Republic of Zambia then the case of UPND they also have issues namely; they believe that their petition was not heard and because of that, it has raised substantial doubts about the illegibility of the electoral process which has even made it difficult for them to recognise the President,” VJ observed.
“So I believe that both sides have got issues and my argument has always been that those arguments should be put on a table for dialogue by both sides so that they dialogue without any preconditions because preconditions are never good for dialogue and they dilute the concept of dialogue. Dialogue means putting everything on the table and in a spirit of give and take for the sake of peace in the country. I am convinced myself that the solution is for both parties to reach a compromise because of one, it’s one year now since the last election was held and the next election is four years away so there is need for both PF and UPND to make compromises for the sake of peace in country by putting the country first rather than their interests.”
VJ further observed that Zambian politicians were selfish.
“The other problem we have is that Zambian politicians do not understand what a democratic election is all about and they are selfish. They look at themselves at the expense of the country and for me, that is selfishness. Perhaps it is a combination of immaturity and selfishness which produces a danger. And how I hope that this culture of arrests can be brought to an end for God’s sake!” exclaimed VJ.