THE Electoral Commission of Zambia has dropped Kitwe’s Mindolo PF ward councillor Samuel Nkhoma from electoral duties that the Commission did not assign to him.
This was after alert UPND members led by mayoral aspiring candidate John Kangwa confronted him at Musa Christian Academy where they found the councillor conducting voter verification at Musa west polling station without authority from the ECZ.
During the video interrogation, Nkhoma admitted that he was the sitting councillor but struggled to justify his selection to conduct the exercise that is supposed to be done by independent civil servants.
Below is a transcript of the conversation between Kangwa and Nkhoma.
Kangwa: Honourable Nkhoma, Kangwa John is my name. I wanted to find out why you are in this position to verify voter details as a sitting councillor for Mindolo Ward. So, in what capacity are you doing this?
Nkhoma: Uhm, as a civil servant. I declared interest; I am no longer doing politics.
Kangwa: You are no longer what? Are you telling me that you have resigned because I know that you are still the sitting councillor for Mindolo Ward?
Nkhoma: I stopped performing duties ifyabu (of a) councillor.
Kangwa: But you are still a councillor…if you are no longer a councillor there should have been a by-election. Did you resign being a councillor?
Nkhoma: …formally, no.
Kangwa: Kangwa John is my name, I am the aspiring mayor for the city. I received this complaint from the community that how can we have a councillor from another party doing verification? Unless you can assure me that you are no longer a councillor.
Nkhoma: Not really, me I am a civil servant, so even politics I am no longer in politics.
Kangwa: Who is the councillor for Mindolo Ward?
Nkhoma: For the time being?
Kangwa: I am saying who is the councillor for Mindolo Ward?
Nkhoma: It has been me…
Kangwa: I am saying, currently who is the councillor for Mindolo Ward?
Nkhoma: You can say it’s me.
Kangwa: So that’s the source of worry, even you consciously, you yourself as a civic leader, it’s not in order and it’s a recipe for anarchy. You know that it’s a recipe for anarchy, especially this time of elections?
Nkhoma: But I think where it can be a source of anarchy, say where I am active in politics, I am not active in politics…
Kangwa interjects, “you are the sitting councillor parliament is not yet dissolved, are you telling me that parliament is dissolved?”
Nkhoma: But I declared…
Kangwa chips in: Declaring interest means you staying away from here because as far we are concerned you are a politician; you are a councillor. I think that’s what we wanted to come and verify. We thought it was just hearsay, you know when you live in the community…
Kitwe town clerk Mbulo Seke confirmed the development saying Nkhoma’s name found itself on the list of teachers that the DEBS’ office submitted to the ECZ for the exercise but has been withdrawn following Kangwa’s complaint.
“I have not seen the video, but to say it, councillors are not allowed because we believe they stand for a certain position. ECZ workers are non-partisan. But I can confirm with you that yesterday [Monday] I received a report from a person who identified himself as such (Kangwa) as you have described,” said Seke. “And when we made investigations it came out that he (Nkhoma) is one of the teachers who was recruited by the list that teachers assembled because the Electoral Commission of Zambia advises that in schools, we must use teachers, whereas in other places we use those who had participated in the registration. And the Commission advised that our contact persons for recruiting the teachers be the DEBS. So as district electoral officer I requested the DEBS office to give me names of teachers in the schools to do the verification. So, it appears he is among the teachers that were submitted as verification officers but after discovering the same, he was dropped and somebody else was put in place.”
But Kitwe district UPND youth information and publicity secretary Sam Mwikisa alleged that the ECZ was conniving with the ruling party to rig the August elections.
“This unlawful behaviour by PF government, together with ECZ, has never been heard or seen anywhere and it is going to breed anarchy anytime from now if credible institutions locally and internationally will not step in as we will not allow this unlawful behaviour to continue in our nation,” said Mwikisa. “As youths in Kitwe and Copperbelt we are not going to allow this illegality to continue, rather let the people’s choice [on who] will be the Republican president come 12th August this year. As youths we are vigilant country wide and any attempt by PF to steal this election will not be treated with kinds gloves anymore as it is delaying our jobs, opportunities and a better managed economy under president Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND.”