The National Democratic Congress (NDC) faction has said that it is deeply saddened with the United Party for National Development (UPND)’s decision to petition all parliamentary seats held by the Patriotic Front.
In a statement to the media, NDC deputy national spokesperson Zuwa Sinkamba said this was never expected from the UPND.
Mr. Sinkamba said the UPND should rescind their decision, focus on economic recovery and withdraw all the petitions.
He said the election petitions are going to be a drain on the resources and the economy.
“As National Democratic Congress, NDC, we would like to bring to your attention that the UPND, through their Secretary-General, have petitioned quite a number of seats won by PF. Initially, they were about 37, however, it now seems they are going to petition all lost seats,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
“This is a very sad day for this country because, they are taking the same wrong path the PF government took through their former SG Wynter Kabimba, where they started forcing by-elections by making sitting MPs resign so that they can have majority number in Parliament,” he said.
The UPND’s sponsored high court petitions go against their plans to stabilize and recover the economy and reduce the budget deficit.
“When you look at it critically; one by-election costs about K 5 million when multiplied by all the petitions being done in the High Court, the amount is about K 360 million, and most of the cases are actually frivolous,” Mr. Sinkamba said.
“We in the NDC suggest that they build consensus with the opposition and independent MPs and amend the constitution in a way that is acceptable to every Zambian. By the time the UPND will realize that they have wasted time through court petitions, it will be two years and they will not have time to amend the Constitution,” he said.
Meanwhile, in support of the petitions, Colonel Panji Kaunda has said that the Electoral Commission of Zambia needs to be restructured in light of many petitions being filed in court.About 54 parliamentary seats countrywide have been petitioned by losing candidates in the August 12 general elections.
In an interview, Col Panji said the increase in the number of petitions of the just-ended election entails that there was something wrong with the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s monitoring system.
“I think that ECZ is going to be reconditioned as they have done to the police. I think they can do something to the ECZ. We need people who are professional, those that are not professional must go,” he said.
“Something went wrong, that’s for sure! If the way the elections were conducted is found to have been corrupt, then there is something wrong with the ECZ. They didn’t scrutinise or they didn’t monitor how the elections are supposed to be done,” he said.
“For example, Vubwi, a lot of Malawians and Mozambicans came to vote. Literally, we saw vehicles with Malawian number plates coming to vote in Vubwi Constituency. I saw vehicles with my own eyes bringing in Malawians to vote at my polling station.”
Col Panji said people have the right to petition the elections.
“You remember I complained at a certain time that there are too many voters in Vubwi who were registered. Obviously, some numbers might have come from across the borders,” he said. “Going forward, I think that ECZ must tighten their rules on elections and monitoring of elections properly because if this was done, there wouldn’t be so many people wanting to go to court.”