A WITNESS has told the Lusaka High Court that there was commotion at the Mandevu results totalling centre after UPND supporters confronted the returning officer who was alleged to have announced results which were not tallying with the GEN20 forms.
This is a matter in which losing UPND Mandevu parliamentary candidate Aaron Mulope has petitioned the election of PF candidate, Christopher Shakafuswa, seeking nullification of the results, a recount, among other reliefs.
When the matter came up for hearing before Judge Derrick Mulenga, Pamela Mukuka, 34, of Lusaka’s Ngombe compound testified that she was an election observer at the totalling centre in Mandevu.
She narrated that on August 14, this year, as they were observing the elections, it was observed that the forms which were being used for the declaration of results were scattered and the results announced were different from what was recorded by the observers and those signed for on the GEN20 forms.
“I was an observer at the totalling centre in Mandevu. On 14th August 2021, I was inside the totalling centre around 06:00 hours. Inside there, we were observing the elections, the ECZ were announcing the results and the forms being used for declaration were scattered everywhere. The returning officer, Mr Chirwa failed to properly account for the results as he had announced results that were different from what we had on the GEN20 forms,” Mukuka testified.
She told the court that she started capturing a video after the UPND challenged the returning officer who is reported to have swapped the results and confusion ensued at the centre.
“Those results were different from what we had on the GEN20 as the 335 was for Aaron Mulope and 185 was for Christopher Shakafuswa,” Mukuka said.
Describing the contents of the video, the witness explained that after giving wrong results, UPND members stood and approached the returning officer and a fight broke out.
She also showed the court the scattered forms which were supposed to be used for the declaration of results.
Mukuka told the court that the UPND members were insisting that the returning officer announces the correct results as the provisional list had the wrong results.
During cross examination, the witness told the court that she doesn’t remember seeing the UPND members slapping police and ECZ officials at the centre.
When asked whether her evidence before court was that the results were changed for Shakafuswa and Mulope, she responded in the affirmative and also said ECZ failed to properly manage the results at the centre.
In his petition, Mulope alleged that the campaign and elections were characterized by violence.
Mulope stated that on polling day, a UPND youth, being a member of the Mulope’s campaign team, was abducted by well-known PF cadres, being members of Shakafuswa’s campaign team, and has not been seen to date despite the family reporting the incident to the police for investigations.
He further alleged that a UPND youth, Leta Joram, being a member of his campaign team was murdered on July 20, 2021 by PF cadres, being members of Shakafuswa’s campaign team, for not adhering to the PF’s orders of no posters in their purported strongholds in Mulungushi Ward 21.
Mulope stated that the polling day in the area was characterized by illegal practices as police caught PF members as they were changing election results figures in Chaisa Ward in Mandevu Constituency contrary to the Electoral Code of Conduct.
He added that during the totalling of figures at the constituency totalling centre, some copies of GEN 20 forms were not accounted for as they could not be traced.