MMD leader Nevers Mumba has urged President Hakainde Hichilema to remain true to his promise of improving the electoral environment, saying Zambia’s electoral process is “totally rotten”.

On Monday, President Hichilema said his government remained committed to improving Zambia’s electoral environment to ensure respect for human rights, liberties and democratic space to campaign.

Commenting on this in an interview, Tuesday, Mumba said improving Zambia’s electoral environment would be one of the biggest achievements by a President since independence.

“We can only pray and hope that the promise is going to come to pass. It has been the concern of the entire political establishment for many years. If he can achieve that, it will be one of the biggest achievements by any of the presidents since independence. I think that we can only encourage him to stay true to that word and it could really bring tremendous respect to his Presidency. The electoral process of our country is totally rotten. Someone has to work around it to win an election, it doesn’t need to be that way. I think the electoral commission has to be a fair arbitrator and they should not be the ones to decide who wins and who doesn’t win. That should be left in the hands of the Zambian people. So we encourage him to remain true to that promise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mumba said the 2022 national budget should be less dependent on debt and instead strengthen the production units that could contribute to the country’s GDP.

“I think that our colleagues need to put money to their promises. In other words, those sectors in which they promised they were going to be champions in to ensure there is an investment in the younger generation in getting themselves established in micro, small-scale, medium businesses, to create capital for them in order to get started. The budget should reflect a less dependence on debt and strengthen the production units that are going to contribute to our GDP. So we think that they really need to look at how to strengthen manufacturing production so that there are jobs created and many generated instead of just putting money in areas that are not going to give back to the economy,” he said.

Mumba expressed concern at the pace at which investigative agencies were investigating certain cases, which he said was raising suspicions among citizens.

“I think there are two things here. First of all, we do not believe in political interference in issues of legal matters, like the police doing their job, because that is something that was common in the last regime. However, as citizens, we are all concerned at the lack of speed by our agencies in following up a lot of cases that Zambians are aware of. I think there is a difference between political interference and political will. I think what is going on now is offering political will so that the agencies who have lived in fear of being fired if they did the right thing, should feel that there is no interference from the people in power. So there is a very thin line here,” said Mumba.

“I think there is anxiety in the nation that the institutions that are supposed to deal with this responsibility seem to be taking their time and suspicion is rising that maybe there is something that is going on behind closed doors. So I’m against political interference of saying ‘go and arrest that one’. It’s behind us now, but for Zambians to demand for justice, I think it is a right of every Zambian.”