LOSING UPND presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema has accused President Edgar Lungu of stealing the election from him.
Mr. Hichilema said a stolen election did not reflect the will of the people.
“UPND will always respect the views of the people we seek to serve, and our party is built upon upholding our country’s key democratic values and transparency. Ultimately, this election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians,” said Mr. Hichilema.
He claimed that President Lungu was an illegitimate head of State going by the alleged irregularities encountered during the election and release of the results by the ECZ.
“President Lungu truly knows that the results that have been given to him by individuals at the ECZ are not from the citizens who voted. Those individuals, who are less than 20 at ECZ have to bear the burden of over 14 millions Zambians,” said Mr. Hichilema.
He, however, said what was seen unfolding over the last few days could not have been further away from the democratic process the country aspire to uphold because the results from the election did not reflect accurately the voting numbers that occurred on the 20th January 2015. Mr Hichilema said there was no level playing field in the just ended presidential election, adding that the widespread violence experienced was but one situation which rendered the election of Mr. Lungu irregular.
“This has not been a level playing field from the start. We experienced widespread violence against our supporters and party members throughout the campaign as well as deep irregularities in the counting process. We know that democracy lies not only in the voting, but in the counting too,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema said the desire to have the election credible had been defeated with the Electoral Commission of Zambia snubbing their efforts to address the challenges and concerns raised in the electoral process.
“We have been open and engaged with the ECZ regarding our concerns at every possible point through official channels. However, despite this, there are many aspects of the election process and results that have continued to be highly irregular and fallen far short of the democratic process Zambians aspire for.
“Whilst we want to reinforce the personal high esteem in which we, the UPND, hold the Chairperson and the commissioners of the ECZ, there are some known individuals within the ECZ who have acted with utter impunity, corruption and total disregard for a democratic process by manipulating the election results,” said Mr. Hichilema. He said following the meeting on Thursday, UPND was assured by the ECZ that they were going to be provided with the full details for each of the constituencies counted, but did not despite giving the guarantee.
“We had problems with the delays in the provision of full result breakdowns for each constituency from the ECZ to the various parties, even three days after some of the results have been announced. In addition, biased and selective release of results, incorrect displays of figures suggesting that the candidate from PF was leading throughout during television reports and on the ECZ website itself added to the confusion and undermined our confidence at several points. This was happening while people were still voting in other areas just to create an impression that PF was winning the election even when it was clear that the race was still very tight,” explained Mr. Hichilema.
He questioned why access to the ballot receiving rooms was not secured from unauthorized people.
Mr Hichilema complained that the party’s effort to protect votes at polling stations which were extended beyond 20th Jan 2015 were severely hampered at last minute after ZAF revoked the permission for the party’s helicopters to fly.
“This has understandably raised suspicion and concern when the Minister of Defence is himself a candidate in the election. Our outstanding concerns, in the context of this election have left us deeply alarmed that the wrong result has been arrived at, which does not reflect the will of our people,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema said his party had traversed the country listening to the views and concerns of the people.
He said rregardless of the outcome of the just ended election, he had no doubt that UPND would continue to grow ahead of the 2016 tripartite election.
Mr. Hichilema demanded that the 2016 elections should be held on the platform of a new constitution and Independent Electoral Commission to prevent a repeat of the shambles experienced in the just ended election.