National Democratic Congress (NDC) vice-president Josephs Akafumba says the government is hesitant to release the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence of 2016 because it implicates the ruling party.
Last week, Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo disclosed to News Diggers that government had been unable to publish the report conducted by retired Supreme Court Judge Munalula Lisimba’s Commission of Inquiry due to lack of funds.
But commenting on government’s excuse, Akafumba said the commission of inquiry was not necessary in the first place as the causers of violence were already known and traced to the Patriotic Front.
“First of all it is extremely embarrassing because the statement made by Chipampe comes from State House and we would not be wrong to conclude that that comes from President Lungu, who told the nation that this report is done and all members of the public who want to have access to this report can go to Government Printers and get it. You got to Government, they said ‘it is not there and it has not been published’. Then now we have Chanda Kasolo who is PS for Information, who said there was no budget for the report so it has not been published. So this is typical of the PF administration, where the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. This inquiry was set up by President Lungu himself three years ago, it was a costly undertaking to the taxpayers. And from the word go, we told them that this inquiry was not necessary because the source of the violence was the PF itself. They are now playing hide and seek with the members of the public. So now we know for sure that this report may not even be published for fear of the implications on PF,” Akafumba said.
He said President Lungu had powers to stop violence if he really wanted to.
“You don’t need a report to know that President Lungu by himself can stop the violence just by one word, just by commanding that let there be no violence, he can do that. But even on known deaths, for example in Kaoma where a PF cadre shot somebody from the UPND and in Luanshya where our Provincial youth chairman, Obed was killed by the PF… the PF are the source of the entire violence in this country. PF is a thuggery party which believes in violence. So they cannot publish that report because they know that the submissions made by members of the public point at PF. PF are the ones who are benefiting from the violence. So the report will certainly expose them and more so expose President Lungu as the president of PF,” he said.
Akafumba further demanded that government should immediately find money to publish the report on elections violence.
“They cannot tell us that they only sourced for money for people to go round and there was no money to publish the results. When you set up an inquiry, you know very well that the Commissioners will go round. From there they will take the report to the President, then it’s supposed to be released to the public for public consumption. So now with this confusion which Kasolo is telling us, it appears like it was just a window dressing exercise to show Zambia and the world that President Lungu is interested in finding out the source of the political violence yet not. We also know that by exposing their involvement in corruption, they know very well that they will stand no chance in 2021 to win the elections because their winning of elections in the past has been through violence,” said Akafuma.
“So as NDC, we demand that money must be found and must be found now, we want to see, we are interested because as tax payers, money was used for judge Lisimba to go out. So we want to see what his findings are so that we can take collective measures to avoid violence from today going forward. Political violence is evil, we do not need it. So we want to see President Lungu use the same vigour which he used to appoint the Commission. Let him tell Minister of Finance or Kasolo himself to release money so that this report is published. But all in all, it is really very embarrassing where State House says ‘this thing is already done go and get it’ then at Ministerial level they say there is completely nothing. These ladies and gentlemen in PF are ruling by cheating the people. Don’t cheat people , we are all here and we know the source of violence is PF and it’s PF which can stop the violence. As NDC, we are not interested in violence in 2021. So release the report now!”