I DIDN’T have your vote in 2016 and I won, I will still win, but if you give me the bonus it will be better, says President Edgar Lungu.

And President Lungu says politicians who have failed to admonish their cadres for engaging in violent activities will know where they will end up after elections.

Speaking during the commissioning of the new Mwembeshi Correctional Centre, Tuesday, President Lungu said a technical committee on inmates’ right to vote worked tirelessly to ensure that the Constitutional Court’s ruling was enforced and it was illogical to accuse him of trying to rig using the prison vote.

“Prior to the amendment of the Constitution of Zambia (amendment) act No. 2 of 2016, persons in lawful custody or whose freedom of movement was restricted under a written law were precluded from registering as voters and from voting in an election. I am glad to note that the technical committee on the right to vote for persons in lawful custody worked tirelessly to ensure that a ruling of the Constitutional Court was enforced leading to inmates being registered and will exercise their right to vote during this year’s elections,” President Lungu said.

“I must emphasize that it was not President Edgar Lungu that went to court, it was an organisation of supporting inmates called PRISCA which went to court. And the Concourt affirmed that our inmates have the right to vote. This committee worked tirelessly to ensure that this ruling of the Concourt was enforced. Now somebody says ‘Edgar Lungu wants to rig votes using the election by prisoners’. Just vote the way you want to vote, I didn’t have your vote in 2016 and I won and I will still win. But if you give [me] the bonus, it will be better.”

President Lungu further urged inmates to use their right to vote wisely.

He noted that he was being accused of trying to rig the elections using the prison vote.

“I want to make it very clear that I am being accused of trying to rig using the prisoner service, using the prison vote. I have not campaigned in prison and today I just came to officiate at this function because I have been invited. Otherwise, I would have been in Chawama, in Matero or somewhere campaigning. I want you to know that you have the right to vote and use it wisely,” President Lungu said.

The Head of State further said politicians who had failed to admonish their cadres for engaging in violent activities would know where they would end up after elections.

“So, my fellow cadres let me also take advantage to thank you for being peaceful, law-abiding and non violent in your campaigns. May God bless you. I am saying this because there are other politicians who can’t even raise a voice and admonish their cadres or their followers for doing wrong things. Such people will know where they end up after elections,” he said.

And President Lungu said the PF government had proved that it was not just a government of rhetoric but a government that walked the talk.

“I wish to put it on record that whatever we have been doing as the Patriotic Front government, is not by accident, but something provided for in our manifesto. It is for that reason that when we came in government, change came to the Zambia Prisons Service. Someone says ‘we will come and change things’, ask him what are you going to change ba bwana? Those of you who have been working in the Zambia Correctional Services, who know what it was, including the inmates know where we are coming from and where we are now,” he said.

“If someone comes and tells you that ‘we will come to change things, it is time to change things’, you ask yourself ‘what are you going to change’? We have proved that we are not just a government of rhetoric but a government that walks the talk. As PF, we believe and affirm that provision of humane custodial services to our dear inmates provides the required recipes amongst them, ultimately leading into quality rehabilitation. The change that has come to the Zambia Correctional Service can be seen as you have heard before. We want to assure that nothing in life is static, everything is dynamic and change is the only constant thing. So, we are going to change and we have been changing. So, if someone comes and tells you that ‘we are going to change things’ ask him ’what change’? Because change is ongoing in the Zambia Correctional Services.”

Meanwhile, President Lungu said the Mwembeshi Correctional Facility would have a bed capacity of 3,300.

“I am delighted to be here this afternoon, after exactly five years since I came for the ground breaking ceremony at the new Mwembeshi correctional service facility. I am here to commission this ultra-modern correctional centre which will significantly contribute to the increased holding capacity of our correctional infrastructure. This development will also mitigate the challenges of overcrowding, ultimately helping in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in the correctional centres,” said President Lungu.

“I am reliably informed that the correctional centres have been designed to accommodate a combined bed capacity of 3,300 respectively. The structures include state-of-the-art cells, ablution blocks, main hall, classrooms, administration block, reception, towers, skills training workshops and health facilities, among others. I am exceedingly excited that today the construction of the two correctional centres has been accomplished by the Patriotic Front government, a commendable milestone, indeed.”