Patriotic Front (PF) President Edgar Lungu has called for calm among his supporters and the nation in general ahead of the full announcement of the January 20 presidential poll results.
This is according to a statement issued on his behalf by PF Secretary General Davies Chama.
Following a high level discussion Mr. Chama held with the PF Presidential candidate, Mr Lungu advised Zambians that the ECZ’s decision to suspend the announcement of results was at the behest of the opposition UPND president Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who presented a complaint demanding the suspension of result updates until voting ends in some 51 polling stations located in some western parts of the country.
ECZ has extended voting in 51 of the total of 6435 polling stations countrywide.
Mr. Chama said the PF President has called on the opposition leader to not to “panic and act irresponsibly” by not informing his supporters that Mr Lungu is responsible for the suspension of updates by the ECZ.
“Anxiety is rising among our supporters and among his supporters as well who are now reported to be protesting saying that ECZ was planning to rig the vote. The suspension has been done at his request but he has neglected to inform his followers that this development is due to his actions,” Mr. Chama said.
“Despite all these actions of panic from the opposition which are leading to heightened anxieties,” Mr. Chama said, “Hon Lungu is calling for calm from our members. We call upon the UPND leader to advice his supporters to remain calm. We would also like to warn him to refrain from all forms of disorderly behaviour that has the potential to disrupt law and order,” Mr. Chama said.
Mr. Chama observed that as results steadily trickling in results that are in possession of the ECZ, the reality of an impending defeat has dawned on Mr. Hichilema. Mr. Hichilema was exhibiting irresponsible behavior designed to inflame people’s emotions instead of waiting for the results verification process to take its full course.
On Mr. Vernon Mwaanga’s “rigging” warning, Mr. Chama said the word is widely associated with Mr. Mwaanga’s name as the PF has never known its existence since the party was formed in 2001.
Meanwhile the Secretary-General of the PF has clarified that the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) results it challenged TIZ to release was conducted independently by Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) and not by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Conversely James Thornton, the British High Commissioner to Zambia has echoed Mr Lungu’s call for calm saying Zambians should patiently await the ECZ announcement of the results tomorrow and maintain peace.
” Also as a party we would like to clearly state that the violence in the recent past, sporadic as it maybe, has at all times been perpetuated by the UPND and not the Patriotic Front. Hon. Lungu has re-affirmed the peaceful nature of the PF which under the late President Michael Sata conceded peace three times. At the expense of sounding monotonous, we would like to conclude by stating that the delay in announcing the results has been necessitated by UPND, not PF. God Bless you all.”