UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has warned that the Electoral Commission of Zambia will cause civil strife if they fail to handle elections properly like the case was in 2016.
And Hichilema has charged that PF is using police to harass UPND candidate in the Sesheke by-election Romeo Kangombe for refusing to stand on the ruling party ticket.
Meanwhile, Hichilema has warned that the Electoral Commission of Zambia will cause civil strife if they fail to properly manage elections by allowing civil servants to campaign for PF using public resources.
Hichilema was speaking to journalists, Monday, after holding a meeting with Electoral Commission of Zambia officials to raise concerns over irregularities in the electoral process.
Hichilema, who was accompanied by his vice Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango, Secretary General Steven Katuka, and other party officials, held a closed door meeting that lasted for more than two hours at the Electoral House.
He said if ECZ failed to heed to his warning, Zambia would have civil strife like the case was in Congo DR.
“So you come through, in an election, through violence, through abuse of the electoral process, through using civil servants and state resources, then you say you have won an election, that’s not true. So we have said to the electoral commission that we cannot continue having elections as though there is no problem. The ECZ must step in if they are to maintain their relevance, otherwise they will be irrelevant. Elections that are not managed poorly can bring civil strife in a country, we are seeing what’s happening in Congo, just next door to us, they can’t announce election results. You can see there is some manipulation going on and we don’t want that to spill over here. In fact maybe, following what happened in 2016, we exported this hooliganism into Congo, ourselves as Zambia,” Hichilema said.
Hichilema asked ECZ to stop civil servants who were campaigning for PF using public resources.
“We have reminded them of the involvement of civil servants in the elections, which is wrong. As it were in Mangango, there were a lot of District Commissioners, including a permanent secretary from State House who was campaigning for PF, yet they are civil servants, the law doesn’t allow them to campaign in by elections or general elections, because they work for the people through being civil servants. But this is not being addressed, it was in Mangango and we have seen the same happening in Sesheske already, even before nominations. That is what we have come to alert the ECZ that it is their duty to ensure that electoral laws and other laws that restrict civil servants from abusing public resources, motor vehicles, fuel, even when they remove number plates, is illegal and the ECZ cannot stand by and watch the situation,” he said.
“We brought to their attention the violence that is being orchestrated before, during and after elections. The examples to Vwanganai ward in Solwezi, in the last round of by elections, it was bloodshed all over. And we cannot go into another election without the ECZ addressing these issues of violence. Elections should not be used as time to make people bleed blood, No! They are supposed to be happy moments for us to choose leaders that we believe will serve the people, not these corrupt people that are coming through.”
And Hichilema charged that PF was using police to harass Kangombe.
“We came here to have a meeting with the Electoral Commission of Zambia on matters relating to the fairness of the electoral process, the electoral environment before elections as it is now because there are by-elections coming, and during elections and after elections. Because it is clear from our point of view that the ECZ is not taking the matters relating to the electoral ground being unfair. Let’s start with Sesheke, our candidate was been enticed to stand on their ticket, when he refused to do that, the PF are using the police to harass our candidate. And that constitutes interference with the electoral process, that’s what we came here to alert the electoral commission. Because the issues on the ground in Sesheke have not been resolved and we cannot abuse the police, we cannot abuse institutions of the people to work against the democratic environment in the country, we made them aware of that,” he said.
“We expect our candidate to file in nominations on the 10th January without being abused by the PF using the Police, and the ECZ is sitting, watching.”
And when asked if the party got an assurance from ECZ that the issues raised would be handled, Hichilema said it was not a matter of assurance, but duty.
“It is not a matter of assurance, it their duty, they receive salaries from tax payers, you pay them salaries to do what we have asked them to do. But we also know that they are being abused by the PF, we all know that. It is not a matter of them assuring us, it is to do their duty,” said Hichilema.