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Lungu, concede defeat – UPND Alliance

[By Tobias Phiri, Chambwa Moonga and Mwaka Ndawa]

UPND Alliance chairman Charles Milupi says Hakainde Hichilema has won Thursday’s general election with a landslide.

Addressing the media yesterday, Milupi said their Parallel Vote Tabulation indicated they had won the poll.

“We have compiled results through our PVT throughout the country and the results indicate a landslide victory. We dismiss PF’s hallucinations that they have won. We urge the PF to take leaf from opposition parties that have conceded defeat like the Socialist Party and we thank the presidential candidate for the Socialist Party [Dr Fred M’membe] for his kind words; Mr Sean Tembo and Mr Harry Kalaba of the DP who have said similar things,” he said. “In line with what these three political parties have done, we call upon the PF to do the same…To Mr Edgar, the Zambian people have gone through a lot and were looking to this election to change leadership… There is no better way Mr Lungu can thank the Zambian people for entrusting you with power, than to practice great statesmanship. Allow a peaceful transition of power.”

Milupi said President Lungu must accept defeat.

“As we have asked Mr Lungu to concede, we ask you [people] to remain alert and prepare to celebrate your victory. Having achieved this victory, we ask you to protect it, it is your individual votes that can transform this country. Continue to be vigilant,” he said.

And Milupi said the UPND Alliance regrets the loss of life during the election.

“We extend our symperthies to the families of the bereaved families. Before we apportion blame, we call for thorough investigations because that is what the rule of law demands. When you have violence at a polling station, it is unfair to blame one political party,” said Milupi.

Meanwhile, stakeholders yesterday put the Electoral Commission of Zambia to task over unverified results from Feira Constituency in Luangwa district.

After Commission chairperson justice Esau Chulu and his vice Emily Sikazwe gave their opening remarks, the floor was handed over to one of the commissioners, Major General Vincent Mukanda.

“Here are the first two sets of results received so far. I’ll start with Feira Constituency, Luangwa district, Lusaka Province,” he said before UPND chairperson for elections Gary Nkombo interjected to object.

“With your permission, I’m seeking the floor to raise a matter that needs your attention. And once you answer then we can proceed. I need your permission to raise our concern and then we can proceed. It will take a minute or even less,” Nkombo said.

But ECZ corporate affairs manager Patricia Luhanga chipped in to hand over the floor to chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano.

But before Nshindano could come in, Nkombo pleaded with the Commission again.

“In wish to remind you that the process always protects the content of whatever you are doing. If you gonna jump one little detail of the process, you gonna spoil the entire growth. With your permission once again, this concern is not only coming from UPND, but as you have heard, what sounds to be people heckling it’s a concern by a lot of other stakeholders,” Nkombo added. “Now I seek your indulgence to raise this matter and then you will respond. Once you’ve responded and then we are satisfied, we’ll gladly run at your pace. Once again, I’m seeking your permission to raise the concern so we can move in one accord, thank you.”

After consulting with his superiors, Nshindano allowed Nkombo to raise his concern.

Nkombo then quickly brought forward one of his colleagues in the party Brilliant Habeenzu to raise the concern.

“The results that we’ve been given for Feira are different from what our people on the ground are telling us. And these results have not been followed by the record of proceedings. They’ve not been followed by Gen 20B. And we have not sat to approve or to verify these results so that we agree that these results are correct,” said Habeenzu. “We were still that side, we are only being told that results are being announced here. We are objecting to this result for Feira because it is different from exactly what we are being told by our people on the ground. And it has not been supported by the record of proceedings on the Gen 20B. I submit.”

After that, another man from the New Heritage Party, who was visibly annoyed stepped up to present his case.

“I’m very surprised. As stakeholders we’re also surprised that you told us to go upstairs to wait for verification of the Feira Constituency. And we were told that maybe Patricia Luhanga will come back or the second in command will come and address us,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for 30 minutes nobody has come. Only to hear that results are being announced! No, it’s not right! We take strong exceptions to that. That’s not the way we should do things. We should do things correctly and procedurally. We are waiting there, somebody tells us, no they’re ready now to announce results. Why should you do that? You need to apologise for that.”

In his explanation, Nshindano said: “One of the reasons why you are given that form is that you need to verify with your agents. And it’s important that you understand processes before you even raise them. And it’s for this matter that the Commission will retreat now to be able to guide you on different processes. What we note is the lack of understanding those processes on your part. When it comes to verification…”

After a lengthy explanation, Nshindano announced that the Commission would stand down to go and have the results verified with stakeholders.

Earlier, Dr Sikazwe was at pains to explain reasons the Commission was delaying to announce results.

“The Commission is aware of the anxieties out there in relation to the results. But I wanted to mention something that I think is important for all of us to understand. Counting of results is manual…And so, the Commission is saying to the nation, give us time, the results will be announced,” said Dr Sikazwe. “And you may think that we are delaying deliberately for one reason or the other. We have no interest in who wins or not. What is important for the Commission is to carry out its mandate as per the Constitution which the Zambian people gave us to work with. Let it not be said that maybe it’s because of us that Zambia was set on fire. We’re on top pf things. We’ll give you the results as they come. We may experience some delays but we will stick to 72 hours, this is our promise to you.”

By 18:00 hours the ECZ had failed to release a single set of results.

All Peoples Congress leader Nason Msoni said to everything there is a season.

“It is now prudent for Mr Lungu to start writing his concession speech instead of wasting time procrastinating on his hugely flawed PVT [Parallel Voter Tabulation] and attempting to hold the nation hostage,” urged Msoni. “We urge Mr Lungu to concede defeat and for once to demonstrate statesmanship. We should all realise that Zambia is larger than any one man. To everything there is a season. We should as human beings be ready to accept both the positive and negative side of life.”

But PF secretary general Davies Mwila said its PVT results indicated that President Lungu had a clear lead in all its strongholds. He urged party members to be patient and wait for the ECZ to announce the results.

According to ZNBC, the PF had written a letter of complaint to ECZ on lack of integrity and credibility on the results from Southern, Western and North Western provinces.

Mwila claimed some PF agents were chased and beaten from monitoring the voting process by some suspected UPND members.

He also said it was unfortunate that the country witnessed spates of violence leading to the lack of credibility in the electoral process.

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