NDC interim president Josephs Akafumba says people should disobey ECZ’s suspension of campaign rallies because it is designed to favour the PF.
Akafumba adds that the move is part of the script PF and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) are following to eventually postpone elections.
Recently, Akafumba warned that the PF were working towards cancelling public rallies because the situation on the ground was not good for them.
He also said the nation should not be surprised if COVID-19 infection figures in the country suddenly soared.
True to his word last Thursday, ECZ suspended public rallies.
But Akafumba says the move was well known from the beginning as the Commission was working hand-in-hand with the PF.
“I said earlier on that this is the route the ECZ, in conjunction with PF, are going to take. It has come to pass. The idea is to see how possible for them to postpone elections using the COVID-19. It was well known even before that, that figures for COVID-19 will be very high,” he told The Mast in an interview. “Now my advice to the Zambian people is, what they (ECZ) are doing here is illegal and it does not hold water. The best way to obey an illegal instruction is to disobey it. Disobey it, that is the best way you can obey an illegal instruction which appears to favour them. So, to the people of Zambia, freedom is never given on a silver plate, we have to fight for it.”
Akafumba wondered why the Commission had only picked rallies as super spreaders of COVID-19 when other public functions were going on normally.
“Yes, we know that there’s Covid. It’s not something new. But if we follow the Covid guidelines, we should be allowed to campaign. Why haven’t they closed bars?” Akafumba asked. “If you go to Chilenje and Kabwata in the evenings, the bars are full, nobody is putting on a mask. If you go to Soweto Market, it’s even worse. Those are super spreading areas for COVID-19, if really these figures that they are giving us are real. But bars are operating as before. Soweto Market and other markets are operating as before. So why only political rallies?”
He charged that ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano was just implementing President Edgar Lungu’s desires.
Akafumba reminded Nshindano that President Lungu “is an outgoing president who has an interest and who wants to hang on to power”.
“Only two days ago, [Chishimba] Kambwili was in Mkushi, their cadre Kambwili was in Mkushi where he said a lot of things that cannot even add up to anything. The Electoral Commission of Zambia is quiet about it,” he added. “So, if they really meant well for this country, they should have carpeted, first of all, the PF cadre under the name of Kambwili. But they’ve let him do whatever he’s doing. So, to the Zambian people, let’s go flat out. The only way we can obey this illegal instruction is to disobey it. It will not be easy but we have to soldier on.”
Akafumba said the country was not under a lockdown for the ECZ to cancel public rallies.
“They don’t mean well because the country is not under a lockdown. If really true it should have been wholesome; it should have been on lockdown, bars closed, markets closed, then yes. But life is normal in bars,” he noted. “So, it tells us politicians that these Covid figures which they keep announcing every other day may not even be true. They’re just preparing themselves. This regime which is outgoing will use everything to hang on to power, including inflated COVID-19 figures so that they keep us in our homes whilst themselves will be campaigning. So, we must say, no!”
Akafumba also wondered why President Lungu and his team went around the country when Covid was at its peak.
“Now, even when Covid was at its peak in December and November there was no lockdown. President Lungu continued gallivanting this country opening some, to a certain extent, fake developmental projects when in actual fact he was campaigning,” he said. “Because they knew what they were planning for: ‘let’s campaign now so that when we go towards the close-up then we can close them off, and then we’ll need the police to curtail their messages to the people!’ Because they knew very well that they’ve lost ground and they have nothing to tell the Zambian people. Now they’re using trickery to maintain their hold to power.”
Meanwhile, Akafumba said he would not be surprised if ECZ postponed elections, going by the way the institution had colluded with the ruling party.
He said he expected President Lungu to announce the cancellation of elections.
“I’ll not again be surprised to hear… I’ll not be surprised and I expect it to hear that ‘no the Covid figures now are very high. So, it will even be dangerous to hold general elections. So let me find a way of recalling parliament so that we look at this and then postpone the lections until the situation stabilises’,” said Akafumba. “Now, that will be illegal because there’s no provision that allows Lungu to postpone elections. But PF are known for illegalities. So nobody should doubt that. To argue that the Constitution does not provide for that is not being truthful because President Lungu’s administration 100 per cent is on illegalities and they have no shame to do that. So, we must go out and tell them that what they are doing we are not going to obey it. Us we are going ahead. For as long as we follow the Covid protocols of masking up, washing our hands and social distancing, we should be able to campaign because those guidelines came from the same government. Let it apply equally, even bars, churches and so on and so forth, not only rallies, no!”