United Party for National Development (UPND) has accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of scheming to kill Zambia’s young democracy by imposing nomination fees on political parties.
UPND’s Neto Halwabala in Livingstone has observed that the new nomination fees which ECZ has pegged for this year’s general elections are not justifiable considering the current economic challenges which the people of Zambia are facing.
In an interview with the Daily Nation in Livingstone yesterday, Mr Halwabala who is the UPND Livingstone district spokesperson said that the decision by ECZ to increase the nomination fees without consultation from stakeholders is a weapon sharpened to kill the country’s democracy.
Mr Halwabala said Zambia has a young democracy that demands on citizen’s participation but that the decision by ECZ might breed voter apathy on August 11, 2016.
“Zambia has a young democracy and from the time we adopted democracy in this country, we have never allowed it to grow because of such decisions and clauses.
The action by the ECZ is making democracy fail in Zambia because people will not be allowed to participate,” he said.
“When you start creating clauses and decisions that prevents others from taking part in politics, then you are killing democracy. That is what ECZ is doing, it is sharpening weapons to kill democracy in this country and officers at ECZ should know that the survival of democracy lies in their hands right now,” said Mr Halwabala.
He charged that what has happened was confirmation that ECZ was being run by the ruling party whose role and agenda was to suppress and oppress the opposition through such institutions and the police.
“PF is misusing the Public Order Act (POA) and now they are using ECZ to suffocate the opposition. UPND is not scared of the fees but we are worried with the survival of this country’s democracy.
‘‘There are women and youths that wish to take part in this year’s election but with such increments, then they are bound to fail to take part,” he said.
“The increments in nomination fees will promote apathy. It does not make sense for someone to go and vote just because someone has money.
Political parties might adopt people with money who people cannot vote for and so apathy will be created,” said Mr Halwabala.
“This decision will create mediocre leadership because those with
money will be the highest bidders while those who cannot afford will be discouraged.”
Mr Halwabala demanded that the Electoral Commission of Zambia must tell Zambians whether the institution has embarked on a fundraising venture.
Councillors in urban areas will now pay K2, 000 with those in rural areas paying K1, 500.