The statement by one Vernon Johnson Mwaanga urging stakeholders to watch the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) ahead of the printing of the ballot papers in Dubai cannot go without a comment.
The thrust of Mr Mwaanga’s statement is that the choice of the printer has the capacity to poison the electoral process on account that the ballot papers the company, Alghurairi Printing and Publishing had supplied to the authorities in Uganda were allegedly pre-marked.
The UPND are on record as having opposed the use of Universal Printing Group (UPG) of South Africa and they have now turned their guns against Alghurariri.
This is manifest absurdity and will not change the fortunes of UPND especially that Zambians are aware that the attacks are effectively null and void.
As a party, we wish to take a strong exception to attempts by Mr Mwaanga to issue inflammatory statements deliberately coined to alarm the nation. The statement is careless, mischievous and laced with the worst level of malice. Mr Mwaanga should know that there is no one in PF with a history of rigging elections.
PF remains a very strong force in the country’s politics and does not have any reason to rig elections which are already in our favour going by popularity and practical works done for the benefit of the Zambian people.
Mr Mwaanga, as a veteran politician, must offer hope and unity to the Zambian people instead of setting them against one another just to win favours from the UPND. We are very disappointed with Mr Mwaanga’s careless talk and wish to forsake his attacks on ECZ.
We wish to remind Zambians that in almost all the previous five presidential elections, ECZ has been opposed by the UPND without any proper justification. In 2008, they almost burnt a truck laden with lights for election monitoring in places where there is lack of electricity. We are suspicious that Mr Mwaanga can issue such a statement barely four months before elections. Clearly, the statement has the capacity to poison the atmosphere instead in order to agitate chaos.
The kind of politics being promoted by Mwaanga of wanting to generate negative opinions against a credible and transparent process is barbaric and unreasonable to say the least. Mr Mwaanga is aware that ECZ invites all political parties, the media and civil society to monitor the printing of ballot papers to promote transparency.
The fact that the government is protecting freedom of expression does not mean that politicians should speak carelessly.
As the party in government, we wish to maintain that there will be no rigging and the UPND must just brace for a heavy defeat instead of peddling lies out of fear and cowardice.
Mr Mwaanga should not abuse the tag of veteran politician to malign people involved in election management but must use it to unite Zambians.
I am therefore calling on genuine opposition political parties to remain calm as ECZ will afford them an opportunity to monitor the whole printing, packaging and transportation of the ballot papers as has been the case in the previous elections.
Mr Mwaanga’s statement must therefore be ignored because it lacks merit and weight and remains very speculative. His statement lacks the chemistry of authenticity which is a requirement for credibility.