THE Movement for Change and Equality party has petitioned the Constitutional Court to determine and order that the State should ensure that strict measures are put in place before, during and after this year’s elections to prevent electoral malpractice and violence, fraud as well as rigging.
The political party’s leader Kaluba Simuyemba and his deputy general secretary Peter Kachama, have cited the Attorney General and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as respondents in the matter.
The two are seeking an order to compel ECZ to ensure the timely delivery of adequate polling materials to all areas so that voters are not inconvenienced by delays resulting in disenfranchisement.
They also want the court to determine and order that ECZ should ensure that electoral dispute mechanisms are enhanced before, during and after the elections and a timely delivery of sufficient prescribed forms.
Simuyemba and Kachama further want the ConCourt to determine and order that ECZ be compelled to make changes in the electoral regulation to: allow for result verifications to be done at polling stations before transmission; at tallying centres upon receipt of transmitted results from polling stations; and after tallying of results at constituency tallying centres for local government elections of mayors/council chairpersons and councillors and National Assembly election for member of parliament; and at national result centre upon receipt of results from various constituency tallying centres, as well as, after tallying of votes in a Presidential election for office of President and Vice President.
They also want the ConCourt to determine and order that ECZ be compelled to make changes in the electoral regulation to: allow for transmission of results to be done physically all the way from the polling station to the Constituency tallying centre and to the national result centre; to allow for transmission of results to be done electronically from the polling station to the Constituency taking centres and from the polling station to the national result centre; and to allow that declarations of winners should only be done after the above have been fully exhausted.
The petitioners also want among others, for the Court to determine and order that the voters registers in terms of coding of respective polling districts/stations be linked to the ward, Constituency, district, province and the national results centre should incorporate ascending coding and numbering systems to reflect the cumulative nature of each respective election and in order to prevent fraud of votes counted.
The duo stated that the de-linkage of polling districts number/code from the constituency number /code was a recipe for fraudulent duplication and alteration of vote counts and misrepresentation of tallied presidential election votes at Constituency centres throughout the country which are inwardly transmitted to the national results centre.
The petitioners further added that if allowed to continue will render the 2021 August 12 elections porous and be the very subject of rigging of votes counted at polling stations.
They stated that the ECZ has always failed to provide serial numbers for ballot papers which tally with their respective polling districts and voters registers.
They petitioners further stated the commission had not properly made public the election forms used in the process of transmission of results electronically via fax from the tallying centres to the national results centre including the codes that are used.
They noted that although the returning officer, in the employ of the ECZ, takes the signed result forms to the national results centre at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, it leaves room to question the authenticity of the results sent electronically and those sent physically.
The petitioners also expressed concern that both respondents have failed in ensuring that the electoral laws and regulations put in place are complied with in order to avoid the making of administrative decisions as was exacerbated in the recent 2016 general elections.
The petitioners also said they would show, on record, that there is a strong linkage between electoral violence and electoral malpractices such as fraud with intent to rig an election as can be referenced from previous elections where various Political parties were fully satisfied with the outcome of the results such as the petitions which were filed before the courts of law.
“It is thus the view of the petitioners that the second respondent’s (ECZ) electoral calendars for August 12, 2021 is not any better than the previous ones. This schedule of activities has not been reviewed and revised in accordance with international good practices, it is a recipe for rigging of elections,” read the affidavit in part.