Current ECZ can’t hold fair elections, says Sikaile

THE current Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cannot hold free and fair elections, says good governance activist Sikaile Sikaile.

He said the public alert about a fraudulent electoral register should be taken seriously by all key stakeholders “or the country faces a serious crisis ahead of the general elections in August”.

“We have said it time and again that the current Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), can’t hold free and fair elections. The ECZ is on record having failed to curtail the PF in simple by-elections of their vote buying, and many other electoral process irregularities and blatant fraud,” Sikaile charged. “We have seen a spate of political violence which more often than not, has claimed lives. How then do we surely as Zambians expect free and fair elections from the same people? More so that the ruling party know they will be in trouble if they lose power!”

He said 2016 elections saw how some “unknown people were running away with ballot papers for two to three days and returning them to the polling stations”.

“We saw how figures were inflated in… and other parts of the country. We saw the birth of Chitulika Constituency and many other electoral malpractice happening under the nose of…” he said. “We also saw the police come in full swing with their infamous aggravated robbery charges to anyone who tried to arrest people who had illegal possession of ballot papers. How an espionage suspect was aided by the President to flee the country after he was arrested right at the crime scene of ECZ servers. How then we, as Zambians, believe that we are going to have a credible election this time around?”

Sikaile said without consulting and giving all stakeholders a platform to hear their side, ECZ rushed “or rather was directed” to discard the old register and come up with one which was monitored by PF cadres.

“And you have all seen figures per province and now PF is trying to be clever by claiming that they have the numbers. Wake up, Zambians. These inflated figures that include the registration of minors is what they will use to justify their rigging schemes and also claim stronghold preferences which in reality doesn’t exist,” he charged.

Sikaile said the police service and others were compromised institutions that cannot be trusted in the election.

He said it was up to the diplomatic missions accredited to Zambia and donors to step up and help address the problem.

“Personally, I have written to the United Nations Secretary-General’s office highlighting these future troubles and I’m hoping the UN is moving in quickly. Because should they ignore this impending crisis Zambia is facing, they will be the ones to blame at the end of the day. PF wants to win these elections at all costs even when they all know very well that Zambians are tired of their mediocrity,” Sikaile said. “For the first time we are calling on the international community to be proactive rather than waiting to provide relief food if the worst was to happen. We are also demanding for the restoration of the old register. This time around citizens are very much alert because they have suffered enough and we hope Mr Esau Chulu [ECZ chairperson] and [ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick] Nshindano are reading the mood of the people. Zambians want to determine their future. This is a crucial election. Zambians are resolved to have leaders of their choice and not those determined by the people in those server rooms tallying results.”

Sikaile said the PF should be ashamed to claim victory following the report by one international organisation.

He said the report highlights serious issues that should have been taken into consideration if the PF cares about the country.

“How do you celebrate a purported victory which talks about you going to win by violence and crooked means? Is this being normal ba PF? It is my prayer that we all do our part in demanding a credible election and not what ECZ is planning. If ECZ doesn’t sober up, then we are headed for trouble as a country. Electoral disputes have caused so much trouble around the world. Therefore, Zambia should not go through this mess again like it was in 2016,” he said. “May I also remind and appeal to the diplomatic missions in Zambia to look into the threats PF leaders are sending towards state counsels [John] Sangwa and [Musa] Mwenya. This is high treason trying to usurp constitutional provisions by PF characters like Paul Moonga. The Constitution of Zambia empowers any citizen to challenge the President on issues that the citizen in question deems as an assault to our Republican Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. So, reading such threats of the PF going to sort out the duo who has expressed displeasure in the way the PF government is handling constitutional matters is very disappointing. PF leaders and members, if Mr Lungu is eligible, why panic and threaten others?”

Sikaile said there was need for all citizens, President Lungu included, to respect the Constitution.

“Yes, you can try all you want thinking this time around it’s you against Hakainde Hichilema as it was in 2016. I assure you that this time around it will be you against the people of Zambia. Today the people of Zambia feel they are already dead because of your mismanagement of their resources,” said Sikaile. “Zambians are more resolved to protect their freedom of choice than ever before. But, this can all change if ECZ does that which is good for the people of Zambia and not the PF.”

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