Kapoche losing candidate Charles Banda accuses the MMD of improper pre-election

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Trial in the Kapoche constituency by-election petition has continued in the Lusaka High Court, with the petitioner, Charles Banda telling the court that the pre-election campaigns in the area was marred with irresponsible, improper behaviour by senior members of government and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

Mr. Banda of Chilobe Farm, Chief Nyanje’s area in Sinda, who contested the June 5,
2007 by-election on the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) ticket lost the
election to Fashion Phiri of the MMD.

The June 5 election was as a result of a successful petition by the same Charles
Banda in the High Court against the MMD candidate, Nicholas Banda, who had won the
September 2006 parliamentary seat on an MMD ticket.

Mr. Banda, 51, told Judge Charles Kajimanga that President Levy Mwanawasa and his
vice, Rupiah Banda threatened the people of Kapoche constituency during public
rallies that they would not receive relief food if they voted for the opposition
candidate in the area.

He testified that President Mwanawasa said at two public campaign rallies held at
Nyanje headquarters and Mwanjawantu headquarters that it would be wise for people of Kapoche to vote for Mr. fashion Phiri and the MMD.

He told the court that President Mwanawasa said at the public rally that if they
voted for Mr. Charles Banda or any other opposition party candidate, they would not
get relief food from government and that there would no form of development that
would be done in the area.

Mr. Banda said it was a violation of the electoral act number 12 of 2006 for the
President to issue threatening statements at a public rally during the campaign
period.

He said the electoral Act prohibited people from issuing threats or intimidation
during campaign rallies.

He also said at one of the rallies, President Mwanawasa directed the Minister of
Agriculture, Ben Kapita to direct the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to start buying
crops from farmers in the area.

He told the court that this was began to an extent where in some instances, crop
markets were being opened in the area even on the election day.

“I was disturbed by the pronouncements because I didn’t expect Republican President
Mr. Levy Mwanawasa, who is the custodian of the constitution in this country to be
the first person to violate the law, which is the electoral Act, which prohibits
threats and intimidation during the campaigns,” he said.

The petitioner further told the court that during the same campaign period,
government deployed two earth-moving equipment in form of graders to Kapoche
constituency to grade the Sinda-Nyanje road and the Petauke-Mwanjabantu road, via
chief Mumba.

He said road works were commenced in the area but were abandoned immediately after
elections.

“No grading was done in chief Mumbi’s area, which is in Petauke Central
constituency. Grading started from Nyamasase bridge, which creates a boundary
between Petauke and Kapoche constituencies up to Wankhala,” he said.

When asked how he understood such kind of development by his lawyer, Chifumu Banda, Mr. Banda said “In my opinion, that kind of development was vote buying by the MMD candidate Fashion Phiri”.

Mr. Banda further said Vice President Rupiah Banda said at his first rally at
Kamjoma in chief Mwanjawantu’s area said government would develop the area if the
electorate voted for the MMD candidate in the June 5 by-elections.

He said to substantiate the Vice President’s statement a borehole was sunk at
Kamjoma on June 3rd, two days before the by-election.

He said the borehole is there at Kamjoma but it was not yet in use because the hand
pump has not been fixed.

Mr. Banda attributed his loss to Mr. Phiri (Fashion) to what he termed as malicious
and irresponsible type of campaigns by the MMD officials.

He said the people of Kapoche district could easily believe the promises because
they were facing hunger and were generally poor.

During cross-examination by the respondent’s (Fashion Phiri) lawyer, Hobday Kabwe,
Mr. Banda said he won in Nyanje area while in Mwanjabantu area, Mr. Phiri won.

Earlier, a 48 year old Irack Ngoma said on May 9th, 2007, he was given a cell phone
by former Member of Parliament for Kapoche, Nicholas Banda and a Mr. Dryford Mwanza.

He said he had been a member of the opposition United Party for National Development
(UPND) but defected to the MMD, together with several others.

He said Mr. Banda (Nicholas) had promised to buy him a sim card for the phone but
this has not been given to him yet.

Trail continues on September 21st, 2007 at 09:30 hours.

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