Political activist Dante Saunders has accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of being biased towards the ruling government.
And Mr Saunders doubted whether the fourth coming by elections in Lukulu and Kapiri Mposhi would be free and fair.
“I hold this position because ECZ has not provided a level playing field for political parties, and it appears to me that the commission is biased towards the ruling PF.
He alleged that while he appreciated the electoral guidelines on how to go about with the election campaigns, the commission was not readily available to enforce the laws, on the basis that people had witnessed how the ruling party violated electoral code of conduct by way of making promises to electorates in places where elections took place.
“Not long ago, the President threatened the people of Mufumbwe that his government will withhold development in the area if they refuse to vote for his candidate, and for fear of losing development, the people of Mufumbwe ended up voting against their will. In Mpongwe and Livingstone constituencies, all the campaigns characterized promises of things to electorates, violence, threats and vote buying,” he said.
Mr Saunders claimed that the commission was aware and witnessed such activities but did not remedy the situation, adding that the activities were all serious electoral offences, where if the commission was serious, parties responsible for these offices could have been excluded from taking part in the elections.
“I am particular concerned with vote buying that is characteristic of by-elections. We are aware that candidates of the ruling PF fielded in all constituencies were not people’s choice, and this has raised questions especially when one considers that the ruling PF is always winning the by elections by the same margin,” he said.
And Mr Saunders wondered why the opposition MPs had lost the principle of integrity, and has advised the political leaders to put people of integrity in parliament.
Meanwhile, Mr Saunders challenged ECZ to disclose the number of voters in the exercise of continuous voter registration, which was recently halted at agriculture show grounds in Lusaka, because giving out the number of registered voter would make people appreciate the role the commission was doing regarding voter registration.
He demanded to know from the ECZ whether voters that died had been removed from the voter register or not.
“By knowing the number of registered voters people will stop wondering as to why the ruling government is winning all the by-elections by the same margin of two thousand. People are suspicious about this observation,” he said.
Mr Saunders said he expected the new national Constitution conference would put to an end the issue of unnecessary by elections in the country.
“We are waiting for the outcome of the draft constitution which we hope will deal with the issue on MPs crossing the floor. Our expectation is that the national constitution conference will put an end to the issue of by-elections, that are a drain to the country’s resources,” he said.
However, reports from Lukulu indicated that suspected PF officials had continued getting voters cards in exchange of KR50.
People from Lukulu alleged that the PF recruited some civil servants at one of the named school in the area to buy voters cards on their behalf in exchange for money and Chitenge materials.