PEOPLE’S party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti says the democratic values of the country have been breached by the K75,000 nomination fees slapped on presidential aspirants.
He said the fees were a hindrance to poor citizens who wished to stand for the office and added that it was undemocratic for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to come up with such unrealistic fees.
‘’Zambia is a democratic nation, in democracy you cannot create rules that disadvantage others, that is subject to petition because it is unconstitutional, ‘’ he said.
Mr Mulongoti said it was unfair to disadvantage others based on money as Zambia was not a country only for the rich people.
He noted that there were many people in the country who came from humble backgrounds who would wish to contest for presidency but could not due to the exorbitant fees the commission was charging.
‘’You cannot disadvantage other people on the basis of money; Zambia is not a country for rich people only; how about the children of labourers, the children of drivers, you mean they should have no dreams of becoming president of Zambia one day?‘’ Mr Mulongoti said. He noted that the high nomination fees for presidential candidates will compel those aspiring for presidency to acquire money using dubious means.
He added that many politicians would be forced to go to greater lengths such as acquiring funding from criminals so they would contest for presidency.
‘’They cannot rationalize this decision, do you know what it implies? it means people can go to great lengths to get the money, they can go to criminals they fund them and get the money it is not an issue, it is the question of morality, ‘’ he explained. He said the ruling Patriotic Front did not have a lot of money for them to subject other people to such conditions.
Mr Mulongoti questioned where the PF had gotten so much money to spare and added that it was not the money that was an issue but the morality behind it.
He added that he was aware that some political parties did not have money to run in the last presidential by-election. ‘’You wait and see what happens; it is not the issue of the money, it is how people do all kinds of things to get money. Who funded who in January elections, we know that some candidates didn’t have K20,000 to pay, they were helped by other people; what we are talking about is the democratic process, we want everyone to be able to participate, ‘’ he said.