UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged that the Electoral Commission of Zambia will be confirming, to Zambians, it is colluding with the governing PF if its goes ahead to overhaul the old electoral register.
And Hichilema says he has been tortured and discriminated the most.
Hichilema says in the August 2021 general elections, tatulefwaya (we don’t want) flawed election results.
Meanwhile, Hichilema has asked what interest the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has in Dubai printing ballot papers, which overrides the interests Zambians.
Hichilema was speaking on Joy FM radio’s The Platform programme yesterday.
The ECZ plans to discard the old electoral register and initiate a new registration process, ahead of next year’s general elections.
But Hichilema charged that such was unacceptable and illegal.
“The Electoral Commission has no capacity; there is no money in this country. We do not agree and citizens should not agree for the Electoral Commission to do away with the current Voters Register completely,” Hichilema said.
“The Electoral Commission has no capacity to cover the whole country to register new voters, given the flaws that are happening in the voter registration, starting at the National Registration Card issuance. We know that PF are issuing National Registration Cards luxuriously in the so-called strongholds, although there is no stronghold for PF anymore, anyway.”
He told Zambians never to allow the ECZ to: “collude with one political party, in this case the PF.”
Hichilema urged Zambians to stand together and fight for the rule of law.
“The ECZ should just update the register – remove the dead people. If you go to the council, there is a register of people who die. But if they (ECZ officials) do what they are trying to do, we will confirm that ECZ is colluding with PF to steal the election and that will not be allowed. People power is stronger than anyone in the electoral commission and stronger than any one in State House. 2021 hmm, tatulefwaya (we don’t want).”
On the suggestion by the ECZ to print ballot papers in Dubai, the Hichilema indicated that it was unacceptable for the Commission to announce that: “they will procure ballot papers from Dubai without going to the people of Zambia to ask them for their mandate for their decision.”
“Yes, one can claim that the mandate is enshrined in the electoral process Act. But it is critical issues like printing of ballot papers that need the people’s decision. Somewhat the Electoral Commission is ignoring the desires of the people of Zambia. I hear these issues every now and then that ‘we have powers to do this.’ [But] you can’t have powers to work against the people that are supposed to have given you the powers,” he said.
“Printing ballot papers is a controversial issue; if it’s not managed properly, it can lead to electoral disputes. It can lead to all sorts of things in a country, which is supposed to be a democracy. It’s been a tradition to allow citizens to have a view about where the ballot papers are printed from.”
Hichilema said confidentiality was an important component in the ballot paper printing process as well as the credibility of the printer.
“There are printers in different countries in Africa that have contested, questions have been raised about the integrity of those printers and therefore leading to an assumption of unfairness of an electoral process. We must take care of that,” Hichilema cautioned. “Worry about the cost; how much will it cost the taxpayer to print ballot papers? It can never be a decision of the Electoral Commission to spend money, which belongs to the 17 million Zambians, willy-nilly. If you remember the last election in 2016, there was a debate on [whether] to print in Dubai or in South Africa. The South African printer was cheaper but somehow, the Electoral Commission went to Dubai.”
Hichilema asked: “what is the interest of the Electoral Commission in Dubai, which overrides the interests of the people of Zambia?”
“The country has been bankrupted by the PF and so, we need to save every penny. There is no way the electoral commission can talk arrogantly, the way we see it these days, to say ‘whether you like it or not, we’ll print in Dubai.’ The question is you are going to print in Dubai for whose interest? Then people will be left to speculate; is it for the interest of the people who work at the Electoral Commission [or] is it for the interest of those in public office – the PF?” wondered Hichilema.
“Whose interest would somebody arrogantly tell the owners of the electoral process – the Zambians – that ‘I would do what I want, whether you like it or not?’ Then it opens up debate [and] my conclusion here is that that must not be allowed to continue, citizens must not allow that to continue. These are issues which lead to a flawed electoral process [and] no one wants that to happen in 2021. We want free and fair elections in 2021!”
And Hichilema said he has been tortured the most.
He warned that if the PF would continue with Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, they would be digging their own grave.
Responding to a caller who claimed the UPND leadership was Tonga-dominated, Hichilema said in fact he was the only southerner in the top five bracket of party.
He said the Tonga tag was just a PF lie.
“It’s a PF propaganda. First I have no cabinet. I’m not in government. The noise comes mostly from an empty tin…Empty tins make a lot of noise,” he said.
Hichilema said he had the most dynamic leadership and that once in government the UPND cabinet would have a member from each province.
“Cabinet today, the PF Cabinet is the most divisive and ethnically insensitive Cabinet. And we’ll correct that,” he said. “As HH, as the person who has been discriminated the most; amongst the active politicians today, I have been arrested the most. I have been tortured the most. I have been discriminated the most. So it is my duty, I think God allowed that to happen so that we can correct all those mistakes by bringing back unity in the country. So we’ll reunite our country as one of my personal agendas….”
On Bill No. 10, Hichilema said it was a junk bill that must be taken to the drawing board.
He said just like constitutional lawyer John Sangwa had observed, Zambia was not in a legal crisis but in an economic crisis.
“If PF will continue with Bill 10, they are digging their own grave. I’m telling you the truth; they don’t understand the feelings of the people,” Hichilema said. “You know when you are so corrupt, you wax in so much money, especially when you never had access to money, you get confused right, so you think you have the power over people. There’s no way, there’s no government on earth that has power over people. It’s a matter of time, the people power will prevail. I believe in that, I have seen it, I’m old enough to have seen it.”
Hichilema recalled that before 1990, everybody thought that there was no way the UNIP one party state system and government could be removed.
“They used to say in heaven it’s God, on earth it’s a one party State. It just melted. It took just a short while, the people took a decision, boom, it’s gone. I see that in the PF members. You can see how they talk. Look at [home affairs minister [Stephen] Kampyongo when he is addressing a press conference, look at [justice minister] Given Lubinda, look at eeh…all of them,” Hichilema said. “Look at Mr Lungu himself…. ‘I will never allow HH to enter State House’. Is it your State House? Who put you there? It’s the people. The same people, don’t be scared, the same people who put him in State House, they’ll put us in State House. He must know that that’s not his power. And he wants to threaten us, especially me. He always talks about me. ‘We’ll never allow Tongas to be presidents.’ I didn’t choose to be Tonga. I have no apologies to make. I believe that everyone is equal in this country. You can’t as a President continue threatening a citizen like he threatens me every single opportunity. He goes to Solwezi, he is threatening me, he goes to Choma, he’s threatening me, he goes to Livingstone, he’s threatening me. He goes to Mongu he is threatening me. You heard a caller from Mongu, Lungu is there now but the caller from Mongu says we don’t want PF, we want UPND. But Lungu is cheating himself there that I heard someone wrote that by 2021 there won’t be UPND in Western Province. Only God, through the people of Zambia, decides who becomes President.”
Hichilema said in 2021 there would be change of government because people are suffering.
“People are sleeping hungry because there is no food. You look at the citizens, you look at the human beings on the street, you can see that this person hasn’t eaten. How can a country like this one fail to feed its people? Even when there is drought in a year or two, we should be able to manage and plan ahead…” Hichilema said. “With technology and agricultural techniques today, how can we fail to feed our people? It means that there is no leadership. I have no apologies to make. There’s absolutely no leadership. That’s what we want to correct. There will be a change of government, a democratic change of government in 2021.”
He urged Zambians not fear.
“Do not be afraid. We have had people threatening citizens before, change came, government changed. When people decide to change, government changes,” Hichilema said. “And no one decides who will be in State House. Is that your State House?”