National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili says the Electoral Commission of Zambia should hold its own elections and organise its own Zambians to vote if it goes ahead to print ballot papers in Dubai without opposition observers.

And Kambwili says Zampost’s decision to hike ferry fees in Chilubi from K500 and K700 for small and big vehicles respectively to around K10,000 one way is meant to bar the opposition from campaigning ahead of next month’s parliamentary by-election.

Meanwhile, the NDC has reported health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for alleged corrupt acts in Chilubi.

Speaking at his residence in Kabulonga when he addressed journalists, Tuesday, Kambwili wondered why ECZ would want to print ballot papers in Dubai without observers from opposition political parties that would be participating in next year’s general elections.

“Electoral Commission of Zambia are saying ‘we are going to print the ballot papers in Dubai [but] we are not going to take with us any observers’. Ba ECZ please twamipapata. First and foremost, why go and print ballot papers in Dubai? There is no way ballot papers can be printed without stakeholders observing. What are you telling us? All the elections that have be held where printing has been done from outside this Country, there have been observers paid for by ECZ. How come today, you are saying you are not going to sponsor the observers? Bane, Mwilamona kwati (don’t think) you own this Country. If there will be no observers, that printing will not be done in Dubai. If you are going to do that printing, there will be no elections in this Country. The Zambian people will not accept this time, bear that in mind,” Kambwili said.

“…we are going to tell the people of Zambia that you cannot accept to participate in these elections where baya fye beka baya printer ama (they go alone to print) ballot baleta (and they bring). You will not know how many ballot papers will be printed per constituency…Public relations, whatever you are called, Chief Electoral Officer, ushe ma election yaba noko pakuti ukaye weka (are these your mother’s elections for you to go alone)?…or they are elections for the people of Zambia?… Efyo ba Rupiah [Banda] balelanda ati ni Zambia yanyoko (This is why Rupiah Banda would say is Zambia your mother’s country). So no printing of ballot papers should be allowed without the observers. If you do that, ba ECZ mukakwate ama (you should have) elections pa office palya pene pa mwenu (right there at your place) and find your own Zambians to vote.”

And Kambwili said it is shocking that Zampost had inflated the cost of transporting a vehicle from Samfya to Chilubi, a move he says is intended to bar the opposition from using the ferry during campaigns.

“I don’t know whether we are now degenerating into a country that has no rule of law. What I am having here in my hands is a letter from ECZ in response to our complaint where PF had booked the ferry in Chilubi Island for 20 days out of the 21 days given for the campaigns. The Provincial Minister of Northern Province was quoted on ZNBC TV and the Times of Zambia disputing our compliant that they had booked the ferry for 20 days. Now when it dawned on them that we have officially complained to ECZ against that kind of behaviour, the ECZ responded to us with a very good letter agreeing with us that it is not right for the PF government to book the ferry for the 20 days out of the 21 days of campaigns and they have acknowledged that indeed it is wrong and they have written to ZAMPOST, the owners of the ferry, that they must make the ferry available to all participating political parties,” Kambwili said. “To my shock and dismay, when we contacted Zampost yesterday to try and tell them we can have our vehicles taken from the island to the main land, the quotation that they gave us country men and women is unbelievable, unacceptable and just a way of telling us that the opposition will not use the ferry. Under normal circumstances, Zampost charges K500 to transport small vehicles from Samfya to Chilubi Island and K700 for the big vehicles. Yesterday, Zampost gave us a quotation of K10,000 for one way to transport one vehicle from the island and another K10,000 for coming back. Where can opposition political parties get such kind of money? In short, they are telling us that we can not use the ferry. Where is the fairness of the elections?”

He said the ferry belonged to the government and every Zambian needed to use it.

“I am aware that they have been instructed to give exorbitant quotations so that
the opposition can fail to mobilize during the elections and that is why I am saying my heart bleeds how this Country has degenerated in the last five years. President Edgar Lungu, why? Why President Lungu? Minister of Transport and Communication, why? Why should these things be happening? Why can’t we for once just level the playing field so that if you are popular, if the people of Zambia still believe and trust in you and your government, they will
vote for you? Why should you make it impossible for the opposition political parties to mobilize and campaign during an election?” Kambwili asked.

Meanwhile, NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba has reported Dr Chilufya to the ACC for donating three ambulances, distributing mealie meal and “giving out cash to the would be voters”.

He stated that there were many areas needing assistance but the intention to distribute such goods to Chilubi was meant to sway the voters.

“You are therefore mandated to investigate all corrupt acts reported to you. We therefore request your office to take keen interest and thoroughly investigate the corrupt acts by Hon. Chitalu Chilufya. His acts amount to vote buying by corrupting the minds of the people for the PF to get favourable results in the forth coming by-election,” stated Akafumba.