PATRIOTIC Front chairman for elections Yamfwa Mukanga says Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) chairperson Simon Zukas’ remarks that the ruling party has already started the process of rigging next year’s general elections are a joke.

On Sunday, Zukas charged that attempts to rig next year’s elections had already started through the NRC registration exercise and the unfair application of the Public Order Act.

But in an interview, Mukanga said the national registration exercise was transparent.

“That is a joke! I take those statements as a joke, we cannot do that. Zambia is a democratic state and we abide to the tenets of democracy. We do everything in line with the latter. What we are trying to do is what our constitution stipulates that people register and have their registration cards and we are following that procedure. It is very transparent. I don’t want to answer Mr Zukas. I respect him but I want to tell him that, that is a joke,” Mukanga said.

And when reminded that he and his party officials had been touring the country when the opposition parties were being restricted, Mukanga said the ruling party was following the health guidelines.

“When we are touring, we are trying to donate COVID-19, materials and also sensitize our people because it is a serious disease. We need to protect our people and that is why we are going round to tell them. And we were also telling our members of parliament to remain united. The opposition should not just be going round, they should follow the COVID-19 directives and that is what we are following. It is not a joke that COVID is here, it has a capacity to wipe out everyone unless we follow what is being stipulated as our health guidelines. But those are cry babies so I don’t want to answer them as well,” said Mukanga.

On Tuesday, Zukas said attempts to rig next year’s election had already started.

“People who are in authority, ordinary people in the streets doing their work get fed up with the leaders and they vote against him and he manages because he is the incumbent he may use his power to rig. Now, there comes a time when enough people don’t believe it and they go into the streets. My conclusion here is to warn… because we know that in this country attempts of rigging take place firstly by the people in power they are able to get the results they want not by true votes number but by rigging and bribing. Now, rigging and bribing doesn’t just take place at the voting booth, it is a process it has already started. It all leads to unfair elections and that unfairness doesn’t start from the booth. It is even started here, at the moment, it starts with the National registration not being fairly distributed, it starts with the police using the Public Order Act in a biased partisan form, they let the ruling party have their meeting and arrest people. While the opposition are held at bay. So my warning is that those authorities should take note of what happened in Malawi and what happened in Belarus,” said Zukas.