Leave ECZ alone, HH told

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema should stop harassing the  Electoral Commission of Zambia by alleging that his votes were stolen when last week’s Presidential election was free and fair, opposition Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) president Frank Bwalya has said.

And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has declared  the January 20 election as free and fair.

Mr Hichilema has said that he will not concede defeat because his votes were allegedly stolen.

But Father Bwalya said the truth of the matter was that Mr Hichilema was beaten clean in an election that has been described by Zambians and credible international observers as free and fair and devoid of widespread electoral violence.

Fr Bwalya charged that Mr Hichilema’s cries are meant to portray himself as a victim of electoral fraud.

He said the claims of his votes being stolen were a political gimmick to attract a sympathy vote in the tripartite elections next year.

Fr Bwalya said Zambians were “sick and tired” of accusations against innocent institutions over crimes they did not commit.

“Only a few weeks ago he accused defence chiefs of treason for allegedly blackmailing Dr Guy Scott as acting republican President to reconcile with PF president Edgar Chagwa Lungu”.

“His party also accused late President Sata’s son, Mulenga Sata, of having dark corner meetings with ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna as part of alleged plans to rig the presidential election,” he said.

Fr Bwalya said Mr Hichilema was on record as having declared that he would not concede defeat long before Zambians went to the polls.

“Mr Hichilema has decided to cry foul in the futile hope that he can attract a sympathy vote in the tripartite elections next year,” he said.

Fr Bwalya said he was happy to note that Zambians had ignored Mr Hichilema’s cries that his votes were stolen.

And TIZ vice-chapter president Joseph Kalungu told Daily Nation that the just ended presidential elections showed remarkable improvements in the overall elections management.

“It is our conclusion that the elections were largely fair and the results management by the Electoral Commission of Zambia was credible and matched with TIZ’s Parallel Voter Tabulation results,” he said.

Mr Kalungu said TIZ’s PVT noted with satisfaction that the collation of results was done openly for all stakeholders to see and appreciate.

He said ECZ presiding officers invited all accredited political party agents and NGO representatives to witness and sign  the results slips, adding that it showed some notable improvements in results management where all stakeholders were availed copies of signed results.

“It is therefore very difficult under these circumstances to manipulate the results without the knowledge of all political party agents and stakeholders who are witnesses and present during the counting and collation,” he said.

Mr Kalungu said it was easy to prove if any result had been changed and manipulated by use of documentary evidence.

He said the system used by the ECZ had in built safeguards which any stakeholder could use as all processes were done transparently.

Mr Kalungu said TIZ noted with satisfaction that the ECZ made efforts to put in place most of the requirements for the presidential elections.

He said TIZ also noted that ECZ in many cases went out of its way to meet the demands of the public and the political parties with regard to election information and any other related information.

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