Thursday, September 05, 2013

Confusion reigns over nominations
By Staff Reporters
Sat 10 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia yesterday deferred by-election nominations in Malambo and Petauke Central constituencies in Eastern Province following the Judiciary's clarification that candidates whose seats were nullified due to corruption are ineligible to re-contest.

MMD president Nevers Mumba says the barring of candidates whose election has been nullified by the Supreme Court for corrupt or illegal practices is an exercise in futility by the PF government.

Meanwhile, the UPND campaign team was yesterday incensed after Electoral Commission of Zambia director Priscilla Isaacs informed them on phone that the nomination had been deferred.

Vice-President Dr Guy Scott, who was yesterday scheduled to witness nominations for the by-elections slated for September 5, had to leave Mambwe Boma for Mkaika following the Electoral Commission's deferment of the nominations.

"Lelo bachita postpone nomination they have postponed today's nomination," Vice-President Scott told defectors in Mambwe. "They have postponed the nomination to a later date to be announced."

He explained that the postponement was in view of the Judiciary's clarification on the issue of whether members of parliament whose seats had been nullified on the basis of corrupt or illegal practices were eligible to re-contest or not.

"We are disappointed. We came with chimwela morale but that is how it goes with politics," Vice-President Scott said.

He said he would now visit the Mambwe chiefs to find out about developmental issues and wait for the next date of nominations.

In an interview, Mumba said his party would await the new date for filing in of nominations in Mulobezi, Malambo and Petauke and would go back in these areas to support their candidates.

"We have no battle with the judiciary ourselves. We do have a battle with the PF. All these machinations, we knew about them before this campaign began. We are very disappointed that the PF government is panicking in this manner. The PF has gone into panic mode. Our advice to them is that losing the three Kafulafuta, Solwezi East and Chipata by-elections is not the end of the world, that is what democracy is," Mumba said.

Asked about the way forward from his party in view of the statement from the Judiciary, Mumba responded: "We are not commenting on that at all. Our fight is with the PF and we think what has happened is unfortunate. We will keep the battle where it belongs and we will not be drawn into fighting with the judiciary because our fight as politicians is with our fellow politicians in the PF."

Further asked if his party would go with the same candidates once the new date for filing in of nominations is announced by the ECZ, in view of the statement from the judiciary, Mumba insisted that he had no comment on the Judiciary's statement.

"We cannot make any decision before there is a judicial review. We will wait for the judicial review then a decision is going to be made thereafter. Right now we need interpretation of the law and it has not been done right where all of us are involved in a formal manner. I think we will wait for the judicial review on this one," said Mumba.
MMD national secretary Kapembwa Simbao contrasted the Zambian political situation from that of the warring Zulu King, Shaka, who was asked about his next target after he had defeated all his opponents.

Simbao said in an interview at Mfuwe International Airport shortly before he left for Mambwe that the kind of politics being perpetrated in the country of wanting to kill political opponents was new.

"Shaka Zulu was asked, now after you've won these wars, what happens after you have beaten everyone? People have forgotten that we are all Zambians and that politics should be fun and enjoyable," said Simbao as MMD national treasurer Mwansa Mbulakulima stood by.

"What has happened now is that so much fear is being instilled that those with political minds can't think about anything apart from political elimination."

The MMD's candidate for the Malambo by-election is Anne Yeta Chingaipe because Maxwell Mwale, who caused the by-election after his seat was nullified opted to re-contest on the UPND ticket.

"I don't know anything but God forbid. Why should they bar a Zambian on account of perceptions of corruption?" he asked.

Simbao said the old way of doing politics was that politicians freely interacted with each other and allow the people to make a decision.
Mbulakulima said the MMD was guaranteed of winning the Malambo seat because the people of Malambo had not forgotten the PF leadership's statement that the road going to Mfuwe was for animals.
Meanwhile, the UPND campaign team in the Malambo was incensed by the development.
The UPND group arrived at Mambwe District Council around 11:00 hours but a group of police officers barred them from proceedings into the premises.
UPND vice-president Canisius Banda demanded compensation from the Commission for deferring the nominations for the Malambo by-election.
Dr Banda, who communicated to ECZ director Priscilla Isaacs on Mambwe District Electoral officer Reuben Simfukwe's phone, said his team had wasted a lot of money to travel for the nomination.
After being told that the elections had been deferred until further notice, Dr Banda, who was in the company of Mutale Nalumango, Maxwell Mwale and other senior party members, requested to talk to Isaacs to get a confirmation because there was no official communication.
He said UPND had spent a lot of money in preparing for the nomination.
"As a party, we have done so much and even yourselves as the ECZ you spent so much money. We are ready for this by-election," Dr Banda said.
But Isaacs informed him that the nomination had been deferred and that ECZ had communicated to stakeholders.
She said the ECZ was not being intimidated by the government because they operate independently.
Dr Banda said it was a pity that the government was wasting a lot of money.
"We know why they have postponed the nomination. It is because the PF were not ready for this by-election. They know that they will lose this election," he said.

But Mwale, who by the Supreme Court's statement, stands disqualified to recontest the seat nullified for corruption, said the PF was scared of him.
He asked Isaacs whether the ECZ would consider compensating them.

"Now we have spent so much, are you going to compensate us? If you tell us that we come back say next week to do this process, are you going to compensate us?" Mwale asked Isaacs said the Commission would not give any compensation.
Mwale said the PF were panicking because they knew he was winning the Malambo seat.

"If they were so confident they were going to win this seat, they were not going to postpone the nomination. This postponement itself tells me volumes that they are scared that they are going to lose this by-election. The people of Malambo have decided and there is no amount of intimidation that will change their course. We have our chiefs in Malambo being insulted that what is happening in their bedrooms is known, Easterners are being told that 'we are behind like our buttocks," said Mwale.

UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says the PF is trying to ambush the opposition by instigating court action over the eligibility of some parliamentary candidates.

"The PF should have taken this matter to court a long time ago so that the matter should have been settled by the courts, but they instigated the court action at a late hour in order to ambush us, but from the point of view of justice and fairness, the ECZ hands are tied and the only option was to postpone the nominations so that there is room for proper determination of this matter," Mweetwa said.

He said the PF was panicking and still in shock from their defeat in the last by-elections.
"The three losses they suffered at the hands of the opposition come as a shock to them and it looks like they have not yet accepted that they have to continue losing because of their weak policies. That is why they have been coming up with these monkey tricks of trying to steal a victory where they can't win," he said.

He said the UPND still believed that the party's Mulobezi seat was unfairly nullified.

"We have pleaded with the people of Mulobezi to give honourable
Hastings Sililo another chance as we believe that his seat was unjustly nullified," he said.

Earlier, Western Province permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba said the nominations had been postponed to a later date to await the court's determination of the matter.

However, PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba said the nominations should go ahead as ECZ already had correspondence from the courts.
And four candidates yesterday filed nomination papers for next month's Mkaika constituency by-election in Katete.

The four include former MMD parliamentarian who was now PF candidate David Phiri, MMD's Peter Phiri, Nigel Mpakateni for NAREP and Nelson Mwale.

PF's Phiri who was escorted by Vice-President Scott, home affairs minister Edgar Lungu and losing PF Chipata Central candidate Lameck Mangani filed nomination papers at around 12: 00 hours at Mphangwe Motel.

MMD's Peter Phiri who filed his nomination round 13:15 hours was escorted by Mumba and Sinda member of parliament Levy Ngoma among many others.

NAREP's Mpakateni filed his nomination at around 14: 35 hours.
By press time UNIP's Mwale was filing his nomination while Vice-President Scott was expected to address a campaign rally at Omelo Mumba Basic School ground.

And MMD national treasurer Mwansa Mbulakulima said his party was not shaken by ECZ's decision to defer the Malambo by-election.
By-elections are slated for September 5, 2013.

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