UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of scheming not to inform him and party leadership about by-elections at local government election level.
But ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna dismissed Mr Hichilema’s claims, saying all ward by-elections were publicized.
“We publicized all the ward by- elections including the one in Kalabo. We advertised in the newspapers including the Daily Nation,” Mr Akufuna said.
Mr Hichilema told journalists yesterday that ECZ deliberately ignored other parties but informed the Patriotic Front alone so that some ward elections could go unopposed.
“I hope you are aware that the ECZ had concealed some wards by-elections. They never announced that there will be elections in some wards. Why did they conceal?
“PF was made aware; other parties were not made aware. The intention was to have certain ward by-election to go unopposed. I don’t think this is how we should behave in democracy. Information must be availed to everybody,” he said.
Mr Hichilema said despite the “scheme to conceal the ward by-elections” the UPND was aware about that and it was ready to take part in all of them.
“Nevertheless, we were able to know that this was the scheme and we were ready for them. If there will be any filing in those wards, we will file because we are ready for,” he said.
Mr Hichilema said UPND would participate in all the local government by-elections with what he called “party’s partners”.
Meanwhile, Mr Hichilema said his party would go ahead with country wide rallies to thank the people for voting for his party in the January presidential election.
He said his party notified the police after the election in accordance with the Public Order Act about holding rallies throughout the country but the police have not been supportive.
“We will be proceeding with our programme as it were. You will see the behaviour of the police. They have been basically restricting us from exercising our constitutional rights,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema said to thank the people for their support in an election has never required police intervention.
The UPND leader said police can not determine what he wants to communicate to the people
“What subjects do they want us to have? Are they the ones to decide on the subject? Mr Hichilema asked. “Their right is to receive notifications and we proceed…the police are not the holders or deciders of what subject we discuss with the people, we can thank the people, we can dance with the people and we can sing with the people.”