THE United Party for National Development (UPND) party secretary-general, Batuke Imenda, has warned party officials against fielding inefficient polling agents.
Zambia goes to the polls in the next 16 days – an election in which the PF is expected to ride on intimidation and other dirty tactics to survive an imminent defeat from their longtime arch-rival, Hakainde Hichilema.
Speaking yesterday when addressing senior citizens and the UPND party officials and candidates in Chilanga, the party CEO said the UPND doesn’t want to give the PF an opportunity to rig the coming elections through inefficient polling staff.
He told the party officials to recruit efficient polling agents who are going to stand against PF intimidation tactics and be able to correctly fill in the GEN 12 form.
He warned that the party officials who will field inefficient individuals as polling agents will be fired from the party.
“Let’s not hear of small boys and illiterates representing UPND in polling stations no. If we come here and find out that you’ve put your relatives and small boys as agents we are not going to only dismiss you but fire you from the party because you are a saboteur,” warned the party chief. “We are fed up of being in opposition because of the people who fail to protect the vote. I don’t want to be called a secretary-general of an opposition party. I want to be called a secretary-general of a ruling party.”
Mr. Imenda also advised that the party must move away from the tendency where people just vote and go home to follow results from their television sets or radios because this has been giving the ECZ an opportunity to fidgety around with figures. He said people must ensure that results are not played around with by sufficiently manning the polling stations.
And the party CEO dispelled rumours that the ECZ will demand the covid 19 tests certificates from the polling agents. He said the story is a hoax because such a thing would have been formally communicated to his office.
And speaking at the same function, UPND Chilanga district council aspiring council chairperson, Champion Tembo, implored on the senior citizens who have endorsed the party in the district to network amongst themselves and ensure they support the party. He said the senior citizens should assist the party in vote protection.
“….for me I feel from this meeting, the senior citizens must pick up the challenge and begin to mobilise amongst themselves. You know where your other colleagues are. It’s easier for you to pick up your call and call the people in Namalombwe, call the people in Kalundu [and] call the people in the rest of the wards,” said Tembo. “For me, I don’t want to sound like a baby to begin to tell you what our needs are, they are many. But the issue of vote of protection is important….is prominent. We want you to assist us in this area.”
Meanwhile, the UPND Chilanga constituency aspirant, Sipho Hlazo, has assured the party secretary-general that Chilanga has trained polling agents who are equal to the challenge.
He said that himself, the aspiring council chairperson and the councilors have actively been involved in the training of the polling staff and that no one will be allowed to sneak in relatives for monetary gains.
In attendance were the UPND district party chairperson, Chisambwe Chinyama, district IPS (Chrispine Chambwa), and the campaign manager (Ngenda Situmbeko). Others were the constituency vice chairperson (Alex Cheelo), constituency youth chairperson (Brandon Mutema) and the constituency coordinator (Trevor Mwiinga). In 2016, Zambia witnessed the most violent election in history with a poll day which international observers say was marred with irregularities which resulted in the UPND petitioning the vote.