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NULLIFY THEM ALL …elections must be battle of ideas, not hooliganism – Changala

BREBNER Changala says all parliamentary elections that PF won on the basis of violence should be nullified.

And Changala says former foreign affairs minister Joseph Malanji whose election was also nullified has a lot of questions to answer.

On Friday, the Ndola High Court nullified the election of PF’s Bowman Lusambo on grounds that he intimidated people by calling himself ‘Bulldozer’ and forming a militia called ‘Nato Forces’.

Changala, a good governance activist, said the violence exhibited by PF should never be repeated in future elections.

“It is very important to take note that this kind of hooliganism which had become the order of the day under the Patriotic Front is put to an end. And it should end by nullifying the seats of the perpetrators and the political party that they belong to,” he told The Mast. “A decent politician cannot ascend to power through an armed militia and seek public office through a ballot. These are two parallel desires and commitments to public service. The very fact that a militia was formed, it goes to say it did not mean well. They meant to hijack the votes. To intimidate the people, scare the would-be voters that ‘if we don’t do the militias’ desire, we’ll pay the price’. So, people were intimidated and subjected to violence and the man took the day.”

Changala said violence and bribery became a norm in the PF government.

“To Mr Bowman Lusambo, like many of his colleagues in the Patriotic Front, violence became the modus operandi in which they intimidated the citizenry into submission. And one wonders how the State police failed to curb that violence just because the Patriotic Front was the party in power at that time,” he said. “Then secondly, as the seat was being nullified because of hooliganism which was being perpetuated by PF and violence, I will also wonder as to how the judge and the judiciary missed the component of massive money display and donations that was being done by Mr Lusambo and many other of his colleagues in the Patriotic Front. Pictures and videos are all over as they went viral about this money which was being thrown around and given to every Jim and Jack.”

Changala supported the nullification, saying the judge was on firm ground.

“The Judiciary, through the judge, was on firm ground that that kind of politics of violence, intimidation will not be tolerated. And it’s a warning to other would-be candidates, politicians, that they must play their politics on a clean slate because their victory will always be short lived,” he said. “Mr Lusambo didn’t win the election with a full mandate of the people. But he won because of underhand methods that were employed; of violence, intimidation and handouts to sway the votes in their favour.”

On Malanji’s loss of the Kwacha parliamentary seat due to lack of a Grade 12 certificate, Changala questioned the credibility of Edgar Lungu’s leadership.

He wondered how Malanji became the country’s foreign affairs minister without even the basic qualification.

“The case of Malanji brings out the leadership we had in the last 10 years. Malanji was Zambia’s face to the outside world. Malanji became a senior member of the Patriotic Front and yet he was a man of questionable character! He was a man with a face that was unknown to the general populace,” Changala said. “He’s a man who exposed himself by financial extravagance. He’s a man whose businesses are not known, but he’s a man awash with cash. A man who went somewhere somehow and bought a helicopter. Everything else will tell you that the life he led is a life of a man who was attracting a lot of attention as to understand who he was.”

He said because of such life, Malanji exposed himself to public scrutiny, hence the end result of his political career.

“And because he exposed himself to scrutiny it has come to pass that he does not even possess a Grade 12 certificate. And the appointing authority must have known. It was deliberate appointment in which men and women of sub-standard were brought to leadership, hence the chaos we experienced in the last 10 years,” he said. “Credible men and women were sidelined. Thugs and criminals took centre stage and directed and commanded the direction of this country that we were going to progress on. So, Mr Malanji and his cohorts must answer certain cardinal questions: the source of their wealth, their educational standards and how they found themselves in top leadership in exclusion of competent men and women who could have served this country with distinction.”

Meanwhile, Changala called on the UPND to learn from what is happening to PF.

He said the appointment of Supreme Court judge Mumba Malila as Chief Justice will make it even more difficult for the Judiciary to be hijacked by the Executive as it was under PF.

“This violence that was being perpetuated by the PF is a lesson to the UPND and its leadership that they must not allow their cadres or indeed their party officials to engage in any electoral malpractices that include violence and bribery because their stay in power will definitely be checked and it will be short-lived,” said Changala. “Elections must be won when you market your ideas. It must be a battle of ideas, not physical violence. Not corruption where you buy the votes with a view of corrupting the voter. That will not do. And they must be reminded [that] we are going to have a new Chief Justice who will reorganise the Judiciary, that I can assure you. And we won’t have a period where the Judiciary will be part and parcel to this criminality that we experienced in the last 10 years of the Patriotic Front.”

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