Police messed elections

Opposition political parties on Thursday held a stormy meeting with the Electoral Commission of Zambia at which they protested the blatant interference of Zambia Police who openly sided with the ruling party Patriotic Front in perpetrating serious electoral malpractices.
The parties accused the Zambia police of messing up the last elections and have now demanded for an independent electoral body because of the lack of professionalism by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
Complaining to ECZ chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima who was in the company of all the commissioners on Thursday, the opposition parties stated that the Commission lacked the authority to operate independently because it was not independent of the executive.
Leaders from both the MMD and UPND sought a meeting with the Commission in order to express their grievances concerning the just ended Mpongwe and Livingstone by-elections respectively.
Sources told the Daily Nation that the Commission agreed with the opposition parties and complained that in both cases the police had interfered with the operations of the Commission.
The Commission also had a problem with the operations of the police when it came to elections because the police force worked under instructions from the ruling party.
The source also revealed that the Commission however blamed the former ruling party the MMD for not coming up with a law to allow the institution to be fully independent.
“The meeting went well but after the opposition parties told us what they came for it was discovered that the common enemy was the police.
Police are interfering in the operations of the Commission.
“But it turn we told them that the Commission could not act further or nullify an election because the former ruling party did not provide for it in the law.
“The former ruling party did not allow the electoral body to be independent thus the abuse by the ruling party today. This institution is being abused by politicians in power for instance in Livingstone the ministers castigated officers and wanted the officers to be following their instructions.
“The Commission has always wanted to be independent but it is at the mercy of the government who always fund it so we have no choice but to do as instructed. Even though we have tried to be as independent as we can be its not possible because we fear for our jobs,” said a source.
The Commission also expressed disappointment with the opposition leaders for saying that the Commission should be disbanded because it was toothless and said that it was the law that did not empower them to take specific actions.