United Party for National Development (UPND) Lusaka Central Aspiring Candidate Mulambo Haimbe has dared the Electoral Commission of Zambia(ECZ) to protect Hakainde Hichilema’s votes in the forth-coming General Elections.
Mr Mulambo opened old wounds when he referred to the electoral malpractices that characterised the 2016 elections in an interview with the CBC News crew.
He said the electoral malpractice that occurred in the 2016 elections is an eye-opener hence,ECZ should ensure that free and fair elections reign in the forth-coming polls.
When asked why the UPND fails to protect its votes, Mr Haimbe said it was not a job of the largest opposition to do that but that the ECZ has a fudicious duty to ensure that the votes of any participating party are not manipulated.
Mr Haimbe who is a Legal Counsel said even if some people say there is no solid evidence that there was rigging in the last elections, the fact that the process broke down significantly, allowing the possibility of electoral malpractice to happen,means there was a problem which should not be tolerated in future polls.
He said in a normal circumstance, the role of the political party in an election ends at the voting stage and once the votes are cast, they are protected by a transperant Electoral System.
“In the normal environment, The Electoral Law provides for what should be done in order to protect the votes but for instance, you have a situation like the one in 2016 in Kanyama Constituency where ballots were stashed in a dust bin before they were retrieved to be counted properly. It tells you that there is a flaw in the Electoral System. Somewhere, somehow, someone is not doing their job. You would wonder, why place a blame on political parties participating in an election for not protecting their votes when there is a fundamental flaw in the electoral system?” Mr Haimbe wondered.
He said in the last General Elections (like in some recent by-elections), power was deliberately cut off in polling stations to make way for people who are not supposed to find themselves there.
“The question of political parties protecting their votes should not be there. the system should be so solid that everyone should have confidence in it. When you count votes, you should count in an environment that is suitable, where there is full light, where there is transparency, no third parties entering the polling station and where you are confident that presiding officers have done their job,” Mr Haimbe said
He said in future elections, presiding officers should be screened to ensure that they are not politically compromised if votes could be protected.
Mr Haimbe said the UPND did what it could to protect the electoral process by putting some of its members on guard but most of them where arrested and thrown in prison on trumped up charges.