MARTHA Mushipe, the UPND lawyer yesterday broke down and ruefully accused the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of tampering with Thursday’s results at the Commission’s results centre.
Tempers flared high as a bitter exchange of words between Ms Mushipe and the ECZ ensued at the totalling centre soon after the Justice Essau Chulu announced the first results yesterday.
Ms Mushipe hurled invectives at ECZ public relations manager Chrispin Akufuna and demanded that some ECZ officials should be removed from the results centre because according to her, they were tampering with the results.
Trouble began after Justice Chulu announced the total votes for the first 22 of 156 constituencies which saw President Edgar Lungu take a lead with 207, 547 while UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema trailed him with 153, 630 votes.
In tears, Ms. Mushipe alleged that her party had evidence that the trio; ECZ director Priscilla Isaac, IT deputy director Brown Kasaro and a Ms Theresa Phiri had colluded with Samuel Chavula to manipulate election results.
She defied appeals from Mr Akufuna not need to belabour the issue as the ECZ had already been notified about the development and was already addressing it.
“There is a syndicate in this institution and the syndicate is colluding to steal elections from a particular candidate and now we want the Commission to address this serious issue. Mr. Chavula was found in your verification room with an official identity which was issued by a Mr. Kasaro and when he was caught within the premises, he alluded to the fact that he had instructions from Mr. Kasaro and that he can only respond to the queries that we raised in the presence of Mr. Kasaro,” Ms. Mushipe yelled as Mr. Akufuna tried to calm the situation.
Efforts to stop her from talking failed as she remained adamant, demanding for the an immediate decision from the ECZ to suspend the trio from Mulungushi and Mr. Akufuna’s pleas fell on deaf ears as she continued interjecting him until he also lost his cool.
As the situation calmed down, Justice Chulu appealed to all stakeholders to remain calm at all times and assured the UPND that the commission was looking into the matter.
“I beg you to be calm. Let us not be emotional in this place. I think let us hold our cool, let us hold our tempers,” Justice Chulu said.
The ECZ has since suspended the direct question and answer session availed to stakeholders. They have advised that those with queries should put their issues in writing or find some other way of communicating with ECZ officials.