United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia (UPPZ) president Charles Chanda says there is no need for losing political parties and candidates to petition the outcome of last Tuesday’s Sesheke parliamentary by-election because no one can prove allegations of witchcraft in a court of law.
And Chanda says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should have dealt with the UPND and PF as they were the ones involved in the political violence that erupted in Sesheke.
Meanwhile, Chanda has given government a seven-day ultimatum to construct a decent structure to replace one of the clinics that is currently in a deplorable state.
In an interview, Chanda said petitioning last Tuesday’s by-election result on the basis that there were alleged practices of witchcraft by some political parties would be in vain as no one could prove witchcraft before the courts of law.
He also argued that if the ruling party proceeded to lodge their petition in court, it would be a waste of public resources to organise a fresh by-election in the unlikely event that the petition succeeded.
“This is where leadership comes into play. As UPPZ, we understand that if you petition and even if you succeed, then there should be another by-election, a lot of money will be spent on organising the election and who is suffering? It is the same citizens who will not receive what they are supposed to receive! I believe we need to be mature. For us, this issue of elections, we have a bigger target and that is 2021; we have no time to start going to courts to petition election results. And that’s the reason why we have congratulated those who won. If God sees it fit, he will be able to act himself because there are certain things we can’t prove in the courts of law. I cannot prove before the courts of law that the bees were sent by the UPND, how can anyone do that? How do you prove that that lightening came from UPND? How would I know? There is no need for a petition, let’s move on, let’s go forward and avoid unnecessary tensions and waste of public resources that can be used to better the livelihood of the people,” Chanda said.
However, Chanda hinted at the possibility of the use of witchcraft during the campaign for the by-election as he revealed that the UPPZ candidate was also a victim of suspected witchcraft attacks.
“However, we cannot overlook the issue of magical powers or witchcraft. There was witchcraft at work and there was an incident I decided not to make public relating to witchcraft, which happened to our candidate. I was discussing with him one day and all of a sudden, our candidate fell down, flat! I had to pray for him, that’s how he was resuscitated and in the process demons manifested. And when I asked him, he said there was an object that hit him and he blacked out. So, we are saying that there was witchcraft, but how are you going to prove witchcraft in the courts of law? This is the reason we are saying those who are using magical powers, we leave them in the hands of God, he will deal with that,” Chanda said.
And he appealed to the ECZ to deal with the UPND and PF as they were the ones perpetuating political violence.
“We have a challenge in this country, and that’s where ECZ has no idea that there is an Electoral Code of Conduct. There are rules and regulations for anyone who want to participate in an election, and there is a remedial action for anyone who contravenes the Electoral Code of Conduct. Apparently, the current ECZ has got no muscle to use the Electoral Code of Conduct and take appropriate action. There was violence in Sesheke and there were four political parties that were taking part in that by-election. You never heard that PAC (People’s Alliance for Change) or UPPZ were involved in violence,” Chanda said.
“The violence was between two parties: PF and UPND. In fact, it is even wrong to say there was violence in Sesheke; the best term would be that there was a fight between the PF and UPND because if there was violence, we were going to be affected; we continued campaigning amidst the fights between the two parties. But ECZ did not take action; they left the issues to do with elections in the hands of the police, but the police cannot beat two political parties at the same time. We cannot let the police be the captain of elections; that mandate is given to the ECZ. Once ECZ once acts to disqualify one political party disregarding the Electoral Code of Conduct, a precedent will be set for future elections.”
Meanwhile, Chanda gave government a seven-day ultimatum to construct a decent structure for one of the rundown clinics that is currently in a deplorable state, failure to which he pledged to refurbish the structure using his own personal resources.
“There is a clinic that is at the entrance to the airport in Sesheke; this clinic serves a huge community. Unfortunately, the makeshift structure is serviced by Zambia Army medical officers. It has no doors, it has no windows and medicine is kept there, and there is no proper storage for the medicine because some medicine requires being stored under certain prescribed conditions such as cool temperatures. So, when I went there, I realised that that was a big risk because anybody can poison that medication and then it becomes a problem. This is the reason I have decided to move in and help. But because of where it is located, it may be difficult to put up a permanent structure; we may require permission and other long processes. So, I said if the government does not respond by either relocating the clinic or to build a better structure, I have given them seven days. I will build a structure that will be safe for the people; a structure that will not be leaking because the current structure leaks!” narrated Chanda.
“So, we may be able to put up a better structure that would allow people to work properly without worrying about what would happen to their lives, especially in the rainy season. If government later agrees to put up a permanent structure, we shall be ready to contribute to it, but for now, we want to put up a decent structure that won’t dehumanise the people of Sesheke.”