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Tuesday’s by-elections were a complete scandal – Musenge

TUESDAY’S local government by-elections in 16 wards were nothing but a complete scandal as they did not meet the requirements for a credible, free and fair poll, says Mwenya Musenga.

But the PF, which has scooped 13 out of the 16 seats, have called the elections free and fair.

 

However, Musenge, the opposition National Democratic Congress secretary general, urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to strengthen and rebuild its capacity to handle the country’s electoral process.

He noted that vote buying, harassment, violence and intimidation marred the entire political campaigns in all the five regions where the polls were held.

“Rebuilding the capacity of the ECZ is the only way that will enhance the credibility of this important institution. Tuesday’s local government by-elections in all the 16 wards were nothing but a complete scandal. The elections did not meet all the requirements for a credible, free and fair poll. The entire political campaigns in all the five regions countrywide where these polls had been held were marred by vote buying, harassment, violence and intimidation,” Musenge stated.

He further noted with concern that the PF spent a lot of government resources to buy their “so-called victory”.

He also urged ECZ to re-examine its focus in managing and handling elections, noting that the electoral body was not doing well in the area of voter sensitisation.

“This act of manipulation was undertaken by the desperate PF regime. And the ECZ is fully aware. Reports were availed to the electoral body. The PF spent a lot of government resources to ensure that they bought their so-called victory. In civilised western democracies, these elections should have been nullified. Results in wards where these polls were held have left the electorates more bewildered than before. The entire campaign period might have temporarily ‘brought food’ on the tables in many household’s, but reality has dawned and people have gone back to their old ways, complaining about the high cost of living and intolerance exhibited by this treacherous regime,”

Musenge stated.

“As NDC, we urge the ECZ to re-examine their focus in managing and handling elections. The ECZ is not doing fine in the area of voter sensitisation, awareness campaigns. Literacy levels are evidently low particularly in the countryside where voters are easily cheated and deceived. The aspect of voter sensitisation is one area that needs to be revamped under the ECZ.
We need genuine civil society groupings to dwell more on this aspect.”

Musenge noted that most voters were victimised and intimidated before polling day.

He said the loss in the just ended polls was not on his party but on Zambians who had been dribbled, duped and robbed owing to the challenges they were going through daily.

“The electorates need more awareness and information on electoral fraud and malpractice. It’s unfair that most voters are victimised and intimidated before polling day. In the last 24 hours, we as a party have closely and deeply reflected on our performance in Tuesday’s poll. For us, it is not the NDC that has lost, it is the people of Zambia who have ultimately been dribbled, duped and robbed. The challenges that our people go through on a daily basis have not been wiped away after voting for the PF. Voting for the PF in Tuesday’s poll has not reduced the price of bread nor has the price of water and energy been slashed. As NDC, we understand our people and we want them to draw serious lessons from Tuesday’s poll,”  Musenge stated.

He, however, stated that his party would not petition the election results but would stand strong, firm and determined to take part in the polls ahead.

Musenge  stated that the NDC’s dreams to economically liberate Zambia were still very high in spite of the just ended poll results.

He predicted “a shocker in the 2021 polls” for the PF saying Zambians would speak the loudest.

“As NDC, we are not discouraged. We stand strong, firm and more than determined and resolved than ever before. Our dreams for an economically, liberated Zambia are still very high. The people of Zambia will speak the loudest in 2021. The dynamics of a by-election and countrywide national poll are two different scenarios. The 2021 poll will be a shocker for the PF,”  stated Musenge.

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