MMD president Nevers Mumba has described the decision by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to reject his party’s petition to be given time to find another candidate after Fordson Musele Malishinji withdrew from the Solwezi West at last minute as unfortunate and the highest order of corruption by the Patriotic Front (PF) government.
Addressing journalists at ECZ offices after the commission rejected the petition, Dr. Mumba complained that it was a dark day for Zambia’s democracy.
“Yesterday, we were here to bring a concern to ECZ about the information we had that our candidate had been abducted in order not to file his nominations papers today. Our appeal was thrown out that it was based on suspicions and not facts. In short, we were told that the information had no base. Our candidate on Monday was flown in to State House and after he was given a huge amount of money. We know who gave him the money and the amount of money he was given,” he said.
Dr. Mumba accused the PF leadership of being involved in the electoral malpractices taking place in Solwezi West by election, saying it was a sad day for Zambia.
He said he will not sit by and see the mutilation of democracy in the country, adding that MMD would challenge the decision of the ECZ in the courts of law.
Earlier Dr Mumba in the company of party national secretary Mwansa Mbulakulima, and party treasurer forced themselves through to ECZ chairperson’s office Esau Chulu after office administrators refused them to meet him. Dr. Mumba refused to leave until he had an audience with the chairperson, adding that what was obtaining was a serious threat to Zambians democracy.
In Judge Chulu‘s office, Dr. Mumba explained that he was not there to undermine his authority but just seeking the intervention of the commission.
“We have a situation here chair, yesterday we were made to wait for a long time. Our experience with this office is that the commission has to cooperate with presidents of political parties when we are aggrieved. And you are the only one who can help us resolve this conflict in order to avoid violence and anything that could injure the democracy of this nation. We have a petition to submit to you asking your office to extend the dates for filing in of nominations to Friday and we have a very good case that our candidate as we said yesterday was bought by the PF,” Dr Mumba said.
Judge Chulu expressed concern over the conduct of the MMD saying it was not acceptable for them to force their way into his office without authority.
At this point Dr. Mumba interjected saying that there was no one disrespecting Judge Chulu’s office adding that MMD officials were kept waiting outside for a long time.
Dr. Mumba told Judge Chulu that his office existed because of the political parties and therefore, it was the requirement of his office to attend to political issues with the urgency.
The commissioner then requested for 30 minutes to look at the petition, a petition which they rejected.
ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs said the commission had no reason to extend the filing in of nomination
“They had requested for an extension of nominations but the commission has not extended. The nomination has since closed and only three political party candidates the PF, UPND and UNIP will contest. The decision was an independent one and no pressure was mounted,” said Ms. Isaacs.
And three candidates have successfully filed in their nominations for the Solwezi West parliamentary seat.
Those that successfully filed in include Martin Mbaya for the PF, John Njombi of the United national independent party (UNIP) and Teddy Kasonso of the United party for national development(UPND).