The Foundation for Democratic Process says President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncement of the creation of two new districts in North-Western Province and the commissioning of the US$1.2billion Sentil Copper Mine at Kalumbila Minerals barely a day after the Solwezi West parliamentary nominations is an act of electoral blackmail.
FODEP Executive Director Macdonald Chipenzi said President Lungu has not only undermined the credibility of the Solwezi West Parliamentary electoral outcomes but his party, the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s effort of ensuring a credible process and the entire electoral process in Zambia too.
Mr Chipenzi said it is amazing how President Lungu, who has been frequenting Solwezi and North-Western Province in general has find it appropriate to create Mushindano and Kalumbila Districts during electoral campaigns period.
He said Mr Lungu’s action is irregular and part of electoral malpractices and bribery especially that he had all the time to do so well before the parliamentary bye-election.
“Since this act has been committed right at the start of the electoral campaign period prescribed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and at the time the Electoral Code of Conduct statutory Instrument No. 52 of 2011 is in force, participating political parties should lodge a formal complaint with the Conflict Management Committee, so that the Commission can censure the culprit,” Mr Chipenzi said.
Mr Chipenzi said this action from the President, who swore to protect the Zambian Constitution, demonstrates how defective the current constitution is as it vests so much power in one person as long as that person is in power and includes power to breach the same Constitution with impunity.
“The President’s disregard of the provisions of section 79 of the Electoral Act No. 12 of 2006 has undermined the electoral democratic process in Zambia. Such acts from the highest office in the land dampen electoral stakeholders’ hope of achieving an electoral process that is credible and free of electoral malpractices, corruption, bribery, irregularities and petitions.”
Mr Chipenzi said President Lungu’s action will buttress sentiments that President and his party are desperately want to win the Solwezi West parliamentary by-election either by hook or crook especially observing events that have so far characterized the bye-election where MMD candidate suspiciously defected to PF on the day of nomination.
“Therefore, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) wishes to condemn this act and strongly urges the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other law enforcement agencies to censure President Lungu and any politicians in the habit of undermining the electoral process in order to instil confidence in the electoral process and its outcomes ahead of 2016 tripartite elections.”