Electoral Expert MacDonald Chipenzi says President Edgar Lungu must, with immediate effect, disband the Commission of Inquiry on Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence because its mandate has expired.
According to the Statutory Instrument No. 72 of 2016 that gave birth to the Commission of Inquiry late last year, its lifespan was for 120 days which have since expired.
It was expected within these 120 days to complete its work and handover the report to the President.
Mr Chipenzi said it will be illegal and against the dictates of the Statutory Instrument for the Commission of Inquiry and its commissioners to exist beyond the stipulated timeframe in the Instrument.
He challenged President Lungu to tell the nation whether he has issued another Statutory Instrument to extend the life of the Commission of Inquiry and at what cost to the country.
“On what basis would the Inquiry exist beyond its lifespan and how credible would its work be which would be done after the expiry of its mandated? The credibility of the findings and the entire report would be rendered illegal, questionable and an academic exercise in the public court,” he said.
“It is clear that the Inquiry has lamentably failed to attract enough witnesses as it is fact that people have resisted to be wooed to support a Commission of Inquiry bent at violating their constitutional right to vote, associate and the right to a secret of the vote.”
Mr Chipenzi said it is reasonable that the money being spent on the 15 commissioners who are currently gallivanting around the country and spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money on lodging in expensive hotels and fuel be channelled to needy areas such as uplifting the lives of persons with disability and also stocking hospitals and health centres with necessary drugs and essentials.
“Further, President Lungu would better learn from his Malawian counterpart who only appointed a 3-member Commission of Inquiry on the maize-gate scandal involving Zambia and that country, gave it less days than ours to finish its work and submit its report which it has since done and the Malawian president has acted upon it based on its recommendations. In our case, 15-member commission of inquiry which was given 120 days has failed to conclude its work on time. Where is efficiency and the prudence in the utilization of the country’s meagre financial resources? Mr Chipenzi asked.