Election petition unnecessary
I was shocked and dismayed to read in the Daily Nation issue of August 16, 2016 that the UPND had maintained that its leader Hakainde Hichilema won the August 11 general elections and had declared that the opposition party would petition the election of President Edgar Lungu in the Constitutional Court.
The UPND chairman for Legal Affairs Jack Mwiimbu charged: “As UPND, we have no doubt in our minds that our candidate Hakainde Hichilema had won these elections. We have a Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) in place which indicated that he had won by more than 54%’’. Admittedly, this was a mispresentation of figures.
How could an independent and non-partisan voter tabulation by a consortium of Christian churches that had validated and consistently agreed with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) result in which the UPND leader garnered 47.6% compared to the incumbent President’s 50.4% be in error?
Unless, of course, the PVT result the UPND claims to have in place got the blessings from the Seventh Day Adventist Church where their leader Hakainde Hichilema claims to congregate then they could go ahead with the petition. Honestly, how do you dispute the results when this consortium which is composed of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ); Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ); Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), through Caritas Zambia, confirmed that its PVT was consistent with the ECZ results? My mind boggles.
As a seasoned legal practitioner, Jack Mwiimbu also gave the impression that the elections were rigged yet Zambia had a free and fair elections according to most of the world, and the usual motley array of African, United Nations and Western election observers who witnessed the polls.
Next time Jack Mwiimbu must do his research thoroughly so that his legal practice does not lose the trust and popularity it enjoys in Southern Province and the entire country.
I wonder if this petition of exaggerated claims by the UPND is not the case of history repeating itself like it did in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and now in 2016.
Things fall apart for the UPND
The PF chairperson for elections, Jean Kapata, reportedly said the UPND had continued inventing accusations, excuses and reasons to reject the outcome of the Thursday general elections by accusing the ruling party and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of conniving to manipulate the election results (Daily Nation, August 15, 2016).
According to most of the world, and the usual motley array of African, United Nations and Western observers who witnessed the polls, the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was beaten clean, fair and square by the incumbent President Edgar Lungu.
But the UPND political leaders were seemingly not ready for the smooth acceptance of defeat that had been recently witnessed next door in Tanzania.
And no one could persuade the UPND leader to budge without a myriad of accusations, excuses and reasons.
Instead, the 2008 Zimbabwean and 2007 Kenyan elections seemed a better model – teaching UPND politicians that even if you lost the cup final you still walked away with a hand on the trophy; meaning more precisely, of a power-sharing arrangement.
It is difficult to overestimate what a disaster the August 11 post-election crisis has been for the opposition party: instead of nationwide unification, the southern, north-western and western regions of the country again became distinct balkanized ethnic blocks of a narrow-minded, xenophobic chieftain masquerading as a presidential candidate.
And this appears to be exactly what happened, judging from the voting figures and patterns in Southern, North-Western and Western provinces.
The UPND’s trouncing by PF in the Thursday general elections was a victory over the ‘Bantu Botatwe’ ethnicity and its tribal cousinship.
Though the UPND electoral crisis has for the past decade repeatedly shown an ability to endure far longer than anyone dared imagine, it is hard to see how the current situation when its efforts for nationwide appeal characterised by the inclusion in the party’s inner circle hierarchy with the dominant Bemba ethnic group comprising PF and MMD defectors like Guy Scott, Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), Miles Sampa, Nevers Mumba and Mulenga Sata seem to be an exercise in futility.
It is unlikely that the UPND can last for even a few months before things fall apart.
The futility in the exercise was clearly manifested by the group’s lamentable failure to deliver the dominant Bemba ethnic region of Northern and Muchinga provinces to the UPND.
Open letter to UPND president Hakainde Hichilema
My dear Brother,
Please accept my greetings and regards.
I must start by appreciating the fact that you have not taken our political difference personal because the fact will remain that we still share a lot in common in spite of belonging to different political camps.
Above all, the experiences we had together including the fact that we were almost killed together at Lusaka Zambia police headquarters will never be erased. My decision to write you this letter soon after elections is purely in national interest following a voting pattern which may have far reaching long term consequences. We must correct the wrong impression it has created.
Mr. President, you must be aware that many Zambians are greatly disturbed by the voting pattern which is a repeat of the 2006 election which saw Zambia split in two.
The mere fact that you received a decent vote in every part of the country while the region which has been a focal area for the president gave him as little as 214 against 30,000 is honestly sending a very wrong message.
It is difficult for most of us to understand how people receiving maximum attention can shoot in the back a person who has shown such love for them.
It is difficult to accept a simple explanation like tribalism even to those of us who know better after God blessing us with being tied to unbreakable bonds of our children marrying from there. We can’t believe or understand this voting pattern. Apart from having these beautiful and wonderful Tonga-Ngoni (Tongo) grandchildren I also have families which have settled there peacefully for decades that nobody can convince me that this was a political conspiracy.
This misunderstanding created by the voting pattern in the election should not be taken lightly as it can touch even future generations and continue to divide our nation, hence my appeal that we must face this challenge and resolve it once and for all.
Mr. President, you must agree with me that a mere election should not divide Zambians who have lived in harmony over the years.
On your decision to petition the election, I wish to start by confessing that I have no right to decide for you but if I had such a right I was going to advise you to move on, the way the late Sata did. The loss is not an end as you still have a good chance of forming government one day.
You can easily use the courts to delay the inauguration of President Lungu or even force another election but this will only serve to consolidate the notion that UPND is too angry to form government.
Mr. President, you may not know that many people are driven to PF by fear. They have a very wrong picture of the party because they, for example, knew that you were going to petition for the sake of delaying the inauguration.
Edwin Sakala ZDDM President