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‘ECZ’s teeth is only for biting opposition political aspirants’

FOR a long time now, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has failed to hide its outright collusion with the PF. Statements coming from this institution are well calculated and always – apparently – in synch with the PF. It is very easy even for a fool to discern that there is serious collusion between the ECZ and PF. None of these two entities should deny this scenario which they themselves have brought to the fore.

From the onset of the voter registration exercise, the ECZ and PF defended each other on what the majority of this nation complained about.

First, they did away with the old Voter’s Register. And PF was strongly defending ECZ, calling concerned stakeholders all sorts of names. They planned unnecessary delays in areas they perceived to be opposition strongholds while quickening the process in the so-called PF strongholds. Figures in the new Voter’s Register attest to this fact because they show that PF perceived strongholds have more voters than opposition strongholds. And the ECZ was adamant throughout this process, openly siding with the PF.

As if their new Register is not enough to deliver victory for the PF, the ECZ has now crippled the already disadvantaged opposition with this ban on political rallies. Following the script, PF is also using the Ministry of Health and its department – the Zambia National Public Health Institute – to project high COVID-19 figures, which we believe are much lower than we had last year when Edgar Lungu and his minions went about promoting Bill 10. Where was the Zambia National Public Health Institute that time to advise Edgar against being a super spreader?

Edgar and his deputy Inonge Wina are traversing the country, holding rallies in the name of inspecting developmental projects. Which development has come about which was not there before the campaign period? And if Edgar did not deliver in the last six years, what can he magically produce in two months before August 12? This is certainly disadvantaging his competitors. Yes, Edgar is the President of our Republic, but he is also a presidential candidate in this election. As such, he should be subjected to the same rules as his competitors – period!

And we agree with Sean Tembo when he expresses concern about the stance of ECZ on this score.

“The only teeth which ECZ has is for biting opposition political aspirants. Such double standards on the part of the Commission have

made us strongly doubt whether ECZ is even capable of delivering free and fair elections this year,” says Sean. “As Patriots for Economic Progress, we note with regret that every day that goes by as we head towards 12th August, the Commission appears to be abandoning all pretence that it is an impartial and independent body that is adjudicating on the electoral process, and has now adopted a brazen affiliation to the ruling PF party. The Electoral Commission of Zambia is now undeniably the mouthpiece of the ruling PF party and stands ready to do the bidding of the ruling party at every available opportunity.”

In reminding ECZ about the importance of them showing integrity in their conduct, we quote the words of Kofi Annan: “Elections are at the heart of democracy. When conducted with integrity, they

allow citizens to have a voice in how and by whom they are governed.”

It is a fact that in Southern and East Africa most recently, electoral commissions have been at the centre of great controversy by siding with ruling parties. Let’s remember Malawi and Kenya whose courts annulled election results and electoral bodies of those countries were at the centre of those anomalies. And it is the same behaviour that our Commission is displaying.

Credibility of elections is a critical component in any democracy. And this should start with the umpire, the ECZ. From the way their script is moving, we shall not be surprised if ECZ tomorrow announces that they are postponing elections. It is not that the Covid figures will have escalated or that any of the opposition candidates has flouted campaign rules, rather, it is that the situation on the ground is tough for PF. And ECZ is working very hard to make conditions favourable for the PF. But it’s not right to gamble with the country’s future in this manner. And the ECZ and its PF team will pay a price in the court of public opinion!

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