FORUM for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi panicked yesterday after the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) rejected wrong documents which her running mate, Reverend Clement Mwanza, presented during nominations at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
Rev. Mwanza produced photocopied academic qualifications after discovering that the original copies requested by the Commission were unavailable in his green file which he had carried as he went to file in his nominations papers before ECZ chairman Justice Esau Chulu.
Assistant returning officer who is also deputy director for elections Chomba Chellah rejected the photocopy of the academic qualifications which Rev. Mwanza submitted and asked him to go and find authentic documents.
And a woman who was assisting Mr Chellah to screen Rev. Mwanza’s documents was heard saying “We need the original statements not these photocopied ones” as she immediately gave them back in full view of members of the press.
Ms Nawakwi’s running mate further failed to produce photocopies of his National Registration Card (NRC) and a voter’s card.
When asked to produce a photocopy of his NRC and voter’s card, Rev. Mwanza could not find them as they were not in a file which he had carried.
This prompted Ms Nawakwi to order one of his office assistants (Mr Phiri) to go and make photocopies of Rev. Mwanza‘s NRC, voter’s card and find his original academic qualifications as requested by the commission.
After ten minutes of waiting, Ms Nawakwi pleaded with Mr Chellah that she meets Justice Chulu who was in a different room.
Mrs Nawakwi was, however, granted permission to meet Justice Chulu in the presence of election director Priscilla Isaacs and commissioners Fredrick Ng’andu, Justice Emily Sikazwe, Mr David Matongo and Justice Mushabati.
Members of the press were not allowed by the Commission’s public relations manager Crispin Akufuna to enter a room where Ms Nawakwi held closed door meeting with the officials which lasted for about 40 minutes.
Rev. Mwanza’s nominations documents were later processed after Ms Nawakwi’s closed door meeting with the ECZ officials.
Earlier, United Independence Party (UNIP) president Tilyenji Kaunda and his running mate Njekwa Anamela successfully filed in their nomination papers.
Mr Kaunda later addressed his supporters whom he promised victory so that UNIP could improve the livelihood of the people.
Although the nominations for presidential candidates opened on Monday, yesterday marked the beginning of the presidential candidates filing in of nominations.
The Democratic Assembly, however, did not file because of lack of time. The Patriotic Front, United Progressive Party and Rainbow are expected to file presidential nominations today.