THE HUGE number of parliamentary election petitions lodged in the High Court following the disputed August 11 2016 general elections is a clear indication that something has gone wrong in our electoral process, Yotam Mtayachalo has said.
Mr Mtayachalo, who is FDD losing candidate for Chama North, said the huge number of parliamentary elections was a national disaster.
He said yesterday that something should urgently be done because according to him, the petitions were a huge cost not only to the litigants but also to the nation as a whole.
“The people of Zambia will have to make a choice to change things for the better in order to perfect the electoral process or maintain the status quo. So far, more than seventy election petitions have been lodged in the High Courts from losing candidates which could have been avoided if the country had put in place watertight electoral rules to deter would-be offenders,” Mr Mutayachalo said.
Mr Mutayachalo said Zambians could not continue on the same path of self-destruction and advised that radical electoral reforms should be undertaken in order to make the electoral process more transparent and credible so that losing candidates could not have difficulties to accept defeat.
He said there were a lot of lope holes and weaknesses in the electoral process which some corrupt elements had taken advantage of to suppress the will of the people.
Mr Mutayachalo said winning an election as a Member of Parliament had become a matter of life and death for some politicians.
“Some candidates are capable of doing anything by disregarding the electoral rules with impunity and it is said that some even resort to primitive means of visiting sangomas or witchdoctors for them to win elections.
“This is why even the quality of some Members of Parliament is highly compromised. The majority of the people who vie for political office do that not to serve the interest of the people but their selfish interest,” Mr Mutayachalo said.
Mr Mutayachalo said there was need for the country to review the emoluments paid to Members of Parliament and Cabinet Ministers because they were the major cause of electoral malpractice.
He said political office should not be a lucrative business but a service to the people.