POLICE in Chipata have arrested United Party for National Development (UPND) Rukuzye ward Chairman in Chipangali Constituency Tumeyo Phiri who is village headman Mbobo and Alaina Phiri who is village headwoman Katamanda and charged them with the offence of illegal Practices relating to the poll contrary to section 86(1) and section 87 of the Electoral Act number 12 of 2006.
And two female teachers of Katete Primary School in Katete Districy namely Punji Chona Malata and Caroline Munyumbe were on the run over the matter.
Eastern Province Police Commissioner Alex Chilufya said in a statement yesterday that information gleaned by the investigators suggest that voters cards have been collected from areas considered to be strongholds of the Patriotic Front(PF).
“The two suspects,Tumeyo Phiri and Alaina Phiri have been arrested and charged with the offence of illegal practices relating to the poll.The two will appear in court soon,”he said.
Mr Chilufya said the collaborative action of the UPND and the Post newspaper in the case was meant to disenfranchise the voters and ultimately disadvantage the PF in the forthcoming elections.
He said the village headman informed the police during the investigations that the teachers in question,had gone to the area to conduct a voters sensitisation workshop under the UPND at a Church building in Mafuta village.
That it was then when they asked the village headman to take them to the village headwoman Katamanda’s house of which he did.
Mr Chilufya said the the teachers approached headwoman Katamanda with a proposition that she would be paid a sum of K 2,500 if she collected as many voters as she possibly could from her subjefts and delivered the cards to the two women.
He said the initial amount of K500 was paid to the headwoman as a down payment.
The police said Headwoman Katamanda went on to procure the services of Mary Manda and Lena Nkhoma of Yakuda village within Katamanda area and they collected over a hundred voters cards details of which they recorded in an exercise book.
Mr Chilufya said on the 1st of July,the two women went back to the headwoman to collect the cards but without the agreed balance of K2000 and when she refused to give them the cards,they took them by force.
Three armed men bearinv a firearm and sickle suddenly appeared on the scene and ordered headwoman to give up the cards which she did.
Mr Chilufya said the following day,the headwoman reported the case of aggravated robbery at Mgubudu police post indicating that two women and three men armed witb unknown type of firearm and using two motor vehicles went to her house threatened to harm her and her spouse then stole her travelling bag in which she had put K5000 cash she had collected from the sale of tobacco and the voters cards she had received from Nkhoma and Manda plus the ones she personally collected from some of her subjects.
He said both Nkhoma and Manda stated that the headwoman promised to pay them alot of money once they have gone round the villages collecting voters cards.
He said the entries made by Nkhoma and Manda of the collected voters cards into their exercise books had been found to match with the names and particulars listed in the Post Newspaper.
He said the scheme was both unconstitutional and criminal, consequently the security of the state risks being compromised on the back of eventual public instability or civil unrest.
Mr Chilufya said contrary to the Post newspaper edition number 7200 of 5th July 2016,all the people whose particulars were listed and published as such under Chipangali constituency were in fact Zambians.
He said the story carried by the Post newspaper listed 207 names of people,29 of which were alleged to be Tanzanians and 178 were alleged to be Malawians.
He said police command responded by constituting a tean of investigators which established that all the people listed were Zambians.
Mr Chilufya said the police diligently conducted investigations which inter alia included Chief Chanje and Chieftainess Mkanda of the Chewa people.