By Chibaula Silwamba
Mon 14 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT
MMD chairperson for mines Kaunda Lembalemba has told an ECZ-organised consultative meeting that the concept of adding up results when they are declared by presiding officers at polling stations is not wrong or illegal.
And Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) acting director Priscilla Isaacs said it was not illegal for anybody to compile or add up the electoral results announced by presiding officers at various polling stations.
According to sources that attended a consultative meeting of the ECZ, political parties, civil society organisations and the church at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on Friday, Lembalemba, who led the MMD delegation to the meeting, said the ruling party was not opposed to anybody tallying the results they were obtaining from polling station once they were declared by mandated electoral officials.
“When the issue of PVT parallel vote tabulation came up for discussion, even the MMD sided with the group that supported PVT. Mr Kaunda Lembalemba said as far as the MMD was concerned, there was nothing wrong or illegal about people, political parties or anybody adding up the figures from the polling stations after the presiding officer had announced them,” the sources said. “There was no disagreement from the MMD. There was only one small political party that argued that PVT might cause chaos but everybody dismissed that argument.”
The sources said when Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu asked ECZ commissioners to clarify on the PVT, the commission’s secretary Eric Kamwi explained that the electoral body was the only one with the mandate to conduct elections and announce the results.
“At first, Mr Kamwi wanted to mislead us by explaining about the mandate of monitors and observers by quoting the law. Even ECZ commissioner judge Esau Chulu also wanted to mislead us; he said it was the preserve of the ECZ to announce and transmit the results. Judge Chulu had observed that some people were sending SMSs of results before ECZ had announced the results in Chifubu and Milanzi by-elections,” the source said. “But the discussion became heated and all political parties, civil society groups and the church were on the same side concerning the PVT. After realising that the debate had become heated, ECZ acting director Priscilla Isaacs stood up and said there was nothing illegal for anybody to add up the results that had been announced by the presiding officer at the polling stations. Ms Isaacs said anybody was free to communicate the results obtained from polling station as announced by the presiding officer. She said even radio stations were free to broadcast those results; they results were official and public. After she made that explanation everybody clapped, applauding her for the clarification.”
The sources said representatives of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), UNIP, Patriotic Front and Heritage Party and others were in agreement on the PVT.
But President Rupiah Banda on Saturday said he was not in support of the PVT because it was alien to Zambia and a recipe for anarchy. He claimed that PVT had caused post-elections violence in some African countries like Ivory Coast and hoped that all his colleagues would support his position.