Democratic Party president Harry Kalaba says Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)’s announcement that it will not sponsor any stakeholders to monitor printing of ballot papers in Dubai is unjustifiable.

In an interview, Kalaba charged that the PF wanted to stay in power at all costs and it was clear that the elections would not be free fair.

“Look, this PF wants to stay in power by all costs. Unless you are naive [that] you would want to trust them that elections will be free and fair, unless you are naive, unless you are naive, you would want to listen to the ECZ telling you that there will be no political party going to observe. Where has that happened? Tell me, which country where that has happened? What if they mispell the name of the candidate? What if they print more ballot papers than they should have printed? Who is going to verify that?” Kalaba asked.

“Serious issues like that need consensus; and I don’t know what is wrong with the PF government. I don’t know what is wrong with the PF. When will they learn that this country is for all of us? When will they learn that certain matters are better resolved around the table with all stakeholders? When will they learn that? They should not play politics as usual and we will not allow them. We will not allow them to play those politics!”

Kalaba wondered why ECZ was saying it had no money when government had continued spending money on exorbitant projects.

“It is a very serious source of concern and for me. Even before the ECZ announced that, the ECZ should have first of all started with the stakeholders. We are all interested parties; it is not just ECZ. On whose behalf are the printing those ballot papers for? It’s on behalf of other political parties. They are printing them on behalf of other political parties. What has changed today? Why should it be so difficult to sponsor 20 political parties to go an observe the printing of ballot papers in Dubai? What is so difficult about that? What is so complicated about that? And yet you have money to sponsor on useless procurement like jets! You have money to spend on useless procurement like exorbitant road projects; but you are failing to [sponsor observers]. That is not a small issue! As Democratic Party, we will ensure that our persons will be in Dubai if that is where the printing will be,” he said.

“We will not allow anybody to hoodwink or bulldoze the process. We are waiting for a stakeholders meeting because ECZ can’t make a unilateral decision; it is something that the stakeholders have to agree to; that this is our election. This is the people of Zambia’s election and since this is our election, we have to cast the rules for the elections. ECZ is one of the stakeholders in the elections we are having. They will need to sit round with all of us and we will air our views in that meeting. For now, there will be no process that will be done to under cut.”

Meanwhile, Kalaba said Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya was not competent to comment on the credibility of Zambia’s elections.

During a press briefing last week, Siliya said Zambia’s elections were credible, but that the country only needed “good losers”.

“Dora Siliya is not the one who can be telling us whether the Zambian elections are credible or not, it is not within her competency to tell us whether the electoral process in this country is credible. She just works, she should just continue to participate as a mere candidate; she doesn’t have the competency to tell us that,” said Kalaba.