Zambia opposition parties are accusing the ruling Movement
for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) of vote buying ahead of this month's
presidential election. The opposition parties say government's sudden release
of funds yesterday (Thursday) estimated at several billion Kwacha for
development activities in communities across the country is a calculated
attempt to influence the election. But the government dismissed the accusations
saying community development cannot wait. Richard Mulonga is a Zambian
journalist. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Lusaka that the
timing of the development funds is generating controversy.
is true because the opposition parties were yesterday saying the government is
trying to hoodwink voters into voting for the ruling party candidate Rupiah
Banda. Yesterday, the government announced the release of Constituency
Development Funds amounting to billions of Kwacha. But the opposition parties
and other stakeholders have rejected the move saying why should the government
release this money now instead of before or after the election. They are saying
the fact that the government is releasing the funds during this campaign period
it is trying to work on the minds of the voters," Mulonga noted.
said some observers see the government's action as a political ploy to garner
votes for the ruling party in this month's presidential election.
think that the move intends to make the ruling party's presidential candidate
look as if he is the working man trying to solve the country's problems. And
that Rupiah Banda (the ruling party's presidential candidate) is the only man
who can bring development to Zambia. So, the voters should go out in their
numbers and vote for him," he said.
said the controversy surrounding the community development fund could influence
is an open ended question, which can go either way because some people believe
that the government is going to deliver if they vote for Rupiah Banda. They are
arguing that development cannot wait just because there is an imminent election
and that the government has got to do its work. But I also agree with those who
say that the move can attract voters to swing to the ruling party," Mulonga
said there seems to be a keen interest in this month's presidential election.
have been following this subject from the time the president died, Dr. Patrick
Levy Mwanawasa because we are talking about 400 billion Kwacha ($106
000,000,000) for the election, which is quite a lot of money coming from the
treasury of Zambia. So, we had a briefing yesterday from the electoral
commissioner of Zambia, Justice Florence Mumba who told reporters that the
government has provided the electoral commission with a substantial amount for
the elections. And the cooperating partners through the United Nations
Development program have also contributed money towards the election," he said.
said Zambians are expressing confidence then election would not be hindered
because of help coming from the international community.
Zambians are quite clear that the election would proceed and all the financial
hiccups that were expected have been handled. So, now people are more
optimistic and are just watching the candidates and deciding who is going to
sell their manifesto and who is going to be the best leader for Zambia,"
Mulonga pointed out.
said the electoral commission is being proactive to pluck loopholes to prevent
vote rigging in the election.
are some of the issues, but the electoral commission has been emphasizing that
the electoral system of Zambia cannot accommodate rigging because it is quite
secure. They have actually asked all the players to send monitors who would
monitor the results of the election in various constituencies for their various
parties in this month's presidential election," he said.