By Bright Chikele:
The opposition United Party for National Development has remained non committal about accepting the outcome of the August 11 general elections.
And UPND chairperson Mutale Nalumango says encouraging people to participate in the referendum is a purely government affair.
Meanwhile Nalumango wondered why the Electoral Commission of Zambia had left out Shiwang’andu on the areas where campaigns had been suspended after the opposition UPND chopper was almost brought down by suspected rival supporters.
Featuring on Muvi Television’s The Assignment programme, Nalumango said the ruling Patriotic Front was laying the ground for rigging elections by denying the UPND permission to freely hold rallies.
“…if we genuinely lose and not through rigging, you cannot tell me they are not laying the ground for rigging. We are being stopped from having meetings,” she said.
“I hope Isaacs (Priscilla) and her friends at the Electoral Commission of Zambia do not start releasing results before voting stops as they did last time because when they release results giving the impression that one candidate has already won that discourages other people. Even the release of results was very selective.”
Nalumango said the PF were the perpetrators of violence in the ongoing campaigns.
She said it was sometimes difficult for the opposition to exercise restraint when they were being continuously by PF supporters.
The UPND chairperson said the PF was acting desperate for fear of losing the elections.
“What I see is the fear of those in government to lose power but they should know that one day they will lose this power anyway. They are now aware that they are no longer stronger where they thought they had strongholds and so they are becoming violent,” she said.
“They are now Dununa reverse and taking this country backwards.”
Nalumango said it was strange that the ECZ had to suspend elections in the entire district when previously the ruling PF and the UPND had held meetings in the same town without any incidence of violence.
She said the ECZ should have just sat the police down instead of suspending campaigns for 10 days.
Nalumango said she suffered violence in Shiwang’andu where in the company of former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa they were stoned on landing in 2015 presidential election campaigns.
The former deputy Speaker of the National Assembly said she had restrained her boys from retaliating each time they were attacked.
On the referendum, Nalumango the UPND was not campaigning against it but felt it was a government responsibility to promote it.
“I have not heard anyone saying people should vote No or Yes in our party. It is a state matter but we are calling it unlawful because the referendum act I knew that you had to have a census before you conduct it to ascertain the number of eligible participants, unless the law has changed,” she said.
“It must also be certain to include 50% of the eligible voters to participate. So we fear that it may fail but if it succeeds then very well. We also want to see the bill of rights.”
She said the former PF members joining the party were not rejects but adding value to the party.