Monday, March 14, 2011
By Chibaula Silwamba
Mon 14 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT
Michael Sata says President Rupiah Banda is very jittery and scared of losing elections hence his opposition to parallel voter tabulation (PVT).
In an interview yesterday, Sata said PVT was the only system that would save Zambia from post-elections anarchy. He was reacting to President Banda’s statement that he was opposed to PVT because it was alien to Zambia and a recipe for anarchy. But Sata questioned President Banda’s jitteriness over the PVT.
“This tabulation is the one which will save us from the problems which he President Banda is talking about. As far as we are concerned, if it is used, all the people will be convinced, there will be no need for anarchy,” said Sata, the main challenger for President Banda in the forthcoming presidential elections due before September.
“Furthermore, there is no law prohibiting it. If there is no law prohibiting it, why is the Banda government so jittery? In all the elections where we could afford, we have used it. There is no law prohibiting anybody and when Shikapwasha says ‘we are going to prosecute people advocating for PVT’, he was just lying.”
Sata said PVT system had helped the opposition in some parliamentary by-elections to safeguard their victory by preventing manipulation of the results.
“Their biggest fear is what happened in Mporokoso because we used it and it PVT helped us. That is why you found the government is roundly condemning it,” said Sata.
“In Mpulungu there were certain areas where we had no mobile phone signal, and it was too late for us to do anything.”
On arrival from South Africa on Saturday, President Banda rejected PVT, saying Zambians had never used such a system and it was likely to breed political violence.
“We have laws in this country. Parallel vote tabulation is a stranger to us, it’s alien. We have never had it before. I wish those advocating it could give us the reasons. In any case, in countries where the same people have tried it, like Ivory Coast, up to now there is conflict,” said President Banda, according to state-owned Zambia Daily Mail.
PVT is an election observation methodology used for independent verification of election results whereby monitors, political party agents or any individual collects official results from polling stations and independently compile them parallel to the election authorities.
Elections expert say PVT plays a significant role in preventing electoral fraud. PVT has been carried out all over the world including in countries like Mozambique, Burundi, the Philippines, Albania, Bangladesh, Belarus, Indonesia, Georgia, Kenya, Macedonia, Slovakia, Peru, Zimbabwe and Ukraine.
Organisers from the Philippine National Citizen Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) are widely recognised as the pioneers of PVT in emerging democracies.
In Zambia, the ECZ pastes results at public notice boards at every polling station where people are free to collect the same and add up with results from other centres to come up with the total poll outcome.