NDC demands release of findings on 2016 poll violence inquiry

National Democracy Congress (NDC) vice-president Josephs Akafumba has questioned President Edgar Lungu’s continued delay to release the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence of 2016.

Three years ago, President Edgar Lungu appointed a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the leading cause of electoral violence as well as to look into the voting patterns of all general elections between 2006 and 2016, which was chaired by the retired Supreme Court Judge Munalula Lisimba.

The Commission submitted its findings to President Lungu on January 31, 2019, which still has not been disclosed.

In an interview, Akafumba said it was important to understand the findings of the report as the country heads to another general election in two years.

“We want to know really where the source of these fights were coming from, all of us are interested and the worst part of it, we are heading towards another major election in 2021, which is roughly about 23 months away. So, if we don’t know the findings of the Lishimba Commission, we may fall back to the same trap. President Lungu cannot spend all that kind of money on an Inquiry, which has gone nowhere. So, are we right to conclude that it was just a scheme to give money to his chosen people? We demand that he must release it immediately before we start shooting in the dark,” Akafumba insisted.

“Let him come clean and release that report because that Commission went round the country at a great cost. What is he doing with it? All of us were interested to know the source of the problem so that we do not fall in the same problem in 2021. But the sad part of it, PF, under President Lungu, he is sitting on that report; it should be gathering dust somewhere…I don’t know, maybe, they have even thrown it away, which is extremely unfortunate.”

He said not releasing the report to the public showed that the PF were indicted in the findings as the major cause of violence in 2016 general election.

“Now, you see, in the first place, it was extremely not even necessary, because we all know the most violent party in this country is PF. What President Lungu was trying to do was just trying to play public relations with the people of Zambia by spending so much money on an Inquiry which, in my view, went to do almost nothing,” Akafumba said.

“He wanted to exonerate the PF, and now, the only reason that we can suspect he is unable to make the findings of the Inquiry public is that it implicated his political party, the PF, and therefore, he is feeling ashamed to release it. Because if really it has nothing to do with the PF, let him make the findings public.”

He added that keeping the lid on the report was not a solution.

“The people of Zambia want to know who was causing that violence. We want to know the cause of that violence. Keeping quiet is not a solution for President Lungu; let him just take that report public so that we know the problems and who the culprits are and then we can know how to handle them come 2021,” Akafumba cautioned.

He said President Lungu lacked political will to stop violence.

“And all these problems we are having are just there because of lack of political will, there is no political will. Does President Lungu need an Inquiry to stop violence? No! All he needs to do as Commander-in-Chief is to say: ‘this I don’t want’, and it ends there,” said Akafumba.

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