UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says the party has written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) notifying it that PF cadres were deployed to manage next month’s Sesheke by-election.

Speaking when he featured on ‘the Peoples’ Debate’ programme on Pan African Radio, Monday, Mucheleka said the UPND would not accept anyone rigging elections in the country again.

“We have written to the ECZ to notify them that some of the officials who were deployed to manage the Sesheke by-election were known PF cadres, and ECZ has assured us that they are going to investigate the matter. And for us in the UPND, we are saying that we shall not accept ECZ and the Zambia Police to continue violating the Electoral Act and disturb the people of Sesheke. We are not ready to accept seeing the police failing to maintain law and order during elections. And that’s why we went to meet the ECZ and tell them about the abuse of electoral process. After that meeting, we saw commissioner Ali Simwinga travelling to Sesheke to go and see for himself what was happening on the ground,” Mucheleka narrated.

“We shall never again allow anyone in this country to rig elections! You have seen what’s happening in Congo, you have seen what’s happening in Zimbabwe and mind you, we are sitting in a very awkward position in that we are sitting in between the two countries. It’s possible that the problems that are in the two countries can easily spill over in Zambia if we are not careful! The will of the people should be allowed to prevail in an election to avoid conflicts and this can only be done when elections are free, fair and acceptable to all parties. (Martin) Fayulu in Congo has declared himself as (Republican) President because of the disputed elections, and that’s what we want to avoid in Zambia, already we had disputed elections in 2016.”

And Mucheleka said that the UPND was gearing up for the February 12 by-election despite continued breaches of the Electoral Act by the ruling party, who he alleged, are using government offices to campaign in Sesheke.

“We are ready, our people are on the ground campaigning despite the challenges that they face mostly from the misbehaviour of the institutions that are charged with the responsibility of running the affairs of this country, in terms of the electoral process as well as maintaining law and order. You have seen already what been happening in Sesheke. Over the weekend there was a vehicle that was captured on video where number plates of vehicles were changing from GRZ to Zambia Police, and obviously you can ask on how easy it is that the same vehicle can have two number plates and been used in Sesheke to dupe people. That’s abuse of public resources and that is being done in the full view of the Zambia Police itself and the Electoral Commission of Zambia and no action has been taken against the known culprits, the PF. However, we are very determined, that’s our seat and we have been informed by our people on the ground that we shall surely return the seat,” said Mucheleka.