THE opposition United party for national development (UPND) has accused the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) of grabbing voters’ cards in the run up to the April 23 Kapiri Mposhi by election.
UPND candidate Lawrence Zimba’s campaign manager Austin Milambo told the Daily Nation in an interview that his team discovered the electoral scam in Kakwelesa ward where a named couple had their cards confiscated by PF for money.
“This electoral malpractice was discovered at Mondake polling station in Kakwelesa ward where some PF cadres collected voters’ cards for Henry Mwansa and his wife when Mwansa left his home for town. The cadres tricked Mwansa’s wife that she surrenders her card and that of her husband for safe keeping till voting day when they shall also be given some money,” said Milambo who is also Mwembeshi UPND MP.
According to Milambo, when Mwansa returned and was told what had transpired in his absence he got annoyed and followed up the PF officials and retrieved the cards which he displayed at the UPND meeting in Mondake last Thursday.
The Mwembeshi legislator has called on the ECZ to take complaints from the opposition seriously to avoid what he termed as unnecessary confrontation.
“The ECZ must take our complaints because we cannot be complaining to a deaf ear. They let Masebo go scot free with her breach of the electoral law (an apparent reference to Masebo’s own admission and subsequent apology when she ordered the police to allow a horde of PF cadres beyond the 400 metres exclusion zone during the filing of nominations on 28th March), Guy Scott was here and frustrated our meetings, and all these things are documented but the ECZ seems unconcerned,” said Milambo.
Efforts to get a comment from ECZ failed as the commission’s public relations manager Chris Akufuna’s phone went unanswered
But PF has denied the accusation by saying that the opposition has just discovered that it is weak on the ground and was now crying foul play.But PF campaign manager Philip Kosamu denied any breach of electoral rules by his side and accused the opposition party of failing to withstand the pressure on the ground.
“The UPND have just discovered that they are weak on the ground and are scared of losing the election hence their bringing in these excuses.We are just campaigning peacefully and will not engage into law breaking, our candidate Eddie Musonda is the most popular here,” said Kosamu who is also central province minister in a phone interview with the Daily Nation.
The by election is as a result of the Supreme Court’s nullification of the MMD MP Lawrence Zimba’s victory in 2011 and is being contested by UNIP’s Francis Mwape, Eddie Musonda on PF ticket and Zimba who is reclaiming his seat on the UPND ticket.