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Zambia Vote Rigging Allegation Dismissed

Zambia’s information minister has dismissed accusations that a former president and the electoral commission will rig next year’s general elections to keep the ruling party in power.

Ronnie Shikapwasha told VOA the electoral commission is an independent body mandated to organize transparent elections.

“First of all, it must be dismissed with the contempt that it deserves. There is no way (former) President (Fredrick) Chiluba has nothing to do with the electoral commission, has nothing to do with the government and, therefore, he cannot be considered in any situation to do anything…the electoral commission is a high integrity organization that Mr. Lubinda is telling lies upon,” he said.

Zambia's former President Frederick Chiluba
Zambia's former President Frederick Chiluba

Given Lubinda, spokesman for the main opposition Patriotic Front, said Zambians will not allow former President Fredrick Chiluba, the government, and the electoral body to rig the 2011 general elections.

Lubinda has often accused former President Chiluba of rigging previous election results in favor of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

But, information minister Shikapwasha said the accusations are preposterous.

“If he has a complaint, he should have gone ahead and tabled this complaint in order for the electoral commission and, indeed, the courts of law to deal with it in Zambia,” Shikapwasha said.

Local media quoted opposition figure Lubinda as saying, “the PF supporters have since advised their Leader, Mr. (Michael) Sata, to go on a self-imposed exile so that his supporters are left to directly deal with the ECZ (electoral commission) if they attempt to engineer the 2011 elections.”

Main opposition Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata
Main opposition Patriotic Front (PF) leader, Michael Sata

He also warned there would be anarchy if the government allows former President Chiluba to rig next year’s election.

But, Shikapwasha said the opposition party is to blame for previous election irregularities.

“The PF party (members) are very good at rigging the elections themselves. In the 2006 elections, we discovered that certain polling stations were receiving votes from other people from other polling stations. Specifically, what he is trying to do is to turn away the attention of the people from the PF themselves to other people that are totally innocent,” Shikapwasha said.