THE UPND has described as an attempt to rig the Zambezi West parliamentary by-election, a decision by the Patriotic Front (PF) government to start issuing National Registration Cards (NRC) to Angolan refugees based in Zambezi district of North-Western province.
According to the information obtained by the Daily Nation in Zambezi yesterday, the issuance of NRCs will start today.
One of the officers from the National Registration Office assigned to carry out the registration exercise confirmed the development to the Daily Nation in Zambezi.
“We are from Home Affairs Lusaka. We came in last night, we came to issue NRCs to Angolan refugees because they are no longer refugees, and they are all Zambians.
“Once, we finish we will go back, maybe on Friday,” he said.
The officers also confirmed that they have been accompanied by a ZANIS crew from Lusaka which will be announcing the exercise.
But UPND president Hakainde Hichilema described the exercise as a scheme by PF to rig the Zambezi West by-election.
“That is how PF behaves when they know they are losing. That is not acceptable. Why should they do that now? They should do that when the by-election is over,” said Mr Hichilema.
And UPND deputy campaign manager Munji Habeenzu has accused PF of breaching the Electoral Code of Conduct.
Mr Habeenzu told the Daily Nation that PF was using government vehicles and resources to campaign. “What they are doing is wrong.
They are using government vehicles and resources which is against the Electoral code of conduct,” said Habeenzu.
They should stop that because it is illegal,” he said. Last December, Government decided to grant resident permits to 10,000 former Angolan refugees who meet the criteria under immigration laws. Under the Zambian local integration exercise, those Angolans who apply and meet the established criteria will be considered for local integration by the government by regularizing their stay in the country under Zambia’s existing domestic immigration laws.
Zambia currently hosts about 23,000 former Angolan refugees among many other foreigner nationals.