RAINBOW Party general secretary Wynter Kabimba says it is only political parties with the backing of criminals that can manage to raise the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s (ECZ) proposed nomination fees.

And Kabimba says the ECZ has gone against its mandate of managing the country’s elections by coming up with outrageous nomination fees, which are aimed at disenfranchising people wishing to participate in the country’s elections.

Meanwhile, Kabimba has observed that having a fixed date of elections embedded in the Constitution has created problems for the country because elections cannot now be postponed even if ECZ does not have money to sponsor them.

Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Hot Seat programme in Lusaka, Thursday, Kabimba challenged the ECZ to give a breakdown of the proposed hiked nomination fees, charging that the Commission was just picking figures from nowhere with no basis.

He insisted that only people with the backing of criminal elements would afford such fees because no political party in Zambia, including the ruling PF, could manage to raise such kind of money for an election.

“ECZ should give us a breakdown of that K150,000 because it is a very outrageous amount! It is only those political parties, which are sponsored by criminal elements in this country [who] would be able to afford these outrageous figures. And by doing this, ECZ is actually handing over this country to those criminal elements that sponsor governments. There is no political party in this country that can raise a K150,000, there’s none! Starting from PF up to the smallest party with only one member, they can’t raise that amount of money. That’s why you hear even PF has stood up to join the chorus that these proposed fees are outrageous because they know they can’t raise that amount of money. So, this means the only way a political party will raise that amount of money, including campaign money… mind you, this is just nominations minus campaign money, you must have criminals to sustain that campaign and election. But is that what democracy entails? The answer is no! So, I hope that in the next meeting, this matter could be resolved,” Kabimba said.

He said the proposed fees could be meant to disenfranchise people from taking part in the country’s elections.

“These fees are not only prohibitive but outrageous too. I want to ask them: are they in the business of running elections? Have they registered themselves with PACRA to run elections in this country or they are a government institution mandated to manage and administer elections? ECZ have missed their mandate, they have gone outside the objectives of having established that Commission. It doesn’t matter if ECZ did their consultations on this, whether they went to heaven for consultations, that doesn’t make it right. ECZ is disenfranchising people that would like to take up the leadership of this country by coming up with that amount for nomination fees. They just picked this figure from nowhere, this is a figure which has no basis and they can’t justify it,” Kabimba argued.

“We want them to give us a breakdown of the K150,000; let them explain to say, ‘just to read the name Wynter Kabimba and make sure that it is spelled correctly, it will cost us K50,000. Just to check that Mr Kabimba has an NRC, it will cost us K10,000’… give us that breakdown up to the end so that we can appreciate where this figure is coming from. It can’t be a dream figure by ECZ because ECZ is mandated to manage and administer democratic elections, free and fair elections, and those elections must allow everybody who is a citizen of this country and who wants to participate in these elections, leeway to do so. People shouldn’t be excluded through such obstacles by an institution, which is using taxpayers’ money and turning round to exclude that same taxpayer from that election. I hope they are listening because I will be writing to them soon using these same arguments.”

Meanwhile, Kabimba argued that the fixing of the election date in the Constitution to the second Thursday of August during an election year had brought problems for the country because elections could not be postponed regardless of circumstances.

“What other countries have done, if they don’t have money, they postpone the elections. But you can’t postpone an election now in Zambia because the date in the Constitution. We wanted to copy what the Americans do, but that is a rich country, which can afford to hold their elections the first or second Thursday of every four years. But here, you send our so-called technocrats to go and formulate a Constitution, they can’t think about the social conditions of Zambia, they just copy and cut from the American Constitution and put it in our Constitution. But now, you have a problem, you can’t postpone an election in Zambia. So, instead of resolving a problem, you create another problem on top of that problem. The British, our (former) colonial masters whose system is 700 years, don’t have an election date. But you, a kama third-world country whose GDP is pocket money for Bill Gates, you formulate a Constitution, which has an election date, what is wrong with us? ” he wondered.

And Kabimba also said any stakeholder denying the existence of Coronavirus in Zambia could be right because there was no strict adherence to measures and people were not dying.

In this regard, he called on President Edgar Lungu to consider re-opening bars, saying there was tension in homes because people were not socializing in bars.

“Those who are saying that there is no coronavirus in Zambia could be right because if you look at the way this virus has ravaged other countries, you would wonder because some of these countries are developed countries whose health systems are far much better than ours. So, how can a third-world country like Zambia, from December when this pandemic broke out to June, today, only have 11 deaths? There is no social distance in places like Soweto…people are just bumping into each other. So, I have a lot of sympathy for those people that want to socialize in bars; I think the President must consider these guys and allow them to go and socialize,” said Kabimba.

“People are tensed up and this is bringing quarrels in homes, sitting at home all the time because you can’t go to socialize is creating other problems within homes. The other thing is that it is leading to illegalities because there are bars that have opened and are operating illegally. So, please Mr President, open the bars and allow these guys to go and socialize.”