Battle to control electoral process on

The battle to control the electoral process in Zambia ahead of the presidential elections is in full gear. Zambia will hold presidential and general elections sometime in the last quarter of this year, 2011.

But the battle lines have already been drawn and predictions of violence abound.

The resignation or hounding out of Justice Florence Mumba from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) last week is just one example of the underground scheming and fighting going on.

There is an ongoing plan involving the opposition Patriotic Front (PF), some donors and civil society organisations and one newspaper.

The plan is very simple: It is to take control of the electoral system in Zambia and seal it will compliant civil society groupings. When the elections are called, the opposition should be in charge of the system through its agents. This way, victory for the opposition is assured as even the announcement of the results will be done first by NGOs.

A number of donors are fully involved in this project which is being coordinated somewhere along Bwinjinfumu road in Lusaka.

But there is a split among donors. Britain is upset with what they call the abandonment of the fight against corruption by the current regime. They are upset that former president Fredrick Chiluba has not been convicted of corruption. During the reign of late Levy Mwanawasa, the British government pumped into the Zambian law enforcement and judiciary millions of pounds in what they called the fight against corruption in the Chiluba regime. But most of this money went to enrich policemen and lawyers who were involved in this arrangement.

The Nordic countries have clinched a deal with presidential candidate Michael Sata. Their interest is human rights but specifically the issue of gay (Homosexual and Lesbian) rights. Sata has agreed to include in the Zambian constitution such rights if he wins the presidency.

But the USA government seems to be on the fence. The USA has identified Zambia and Rwanda as countries suitable for USA military bases “ on the continent and the Banda regime appears to be okay with this move. The US has just completed a US$450 million embassy complex. So the USA may just be on the side of Rupiah Banda or act neutral.

What is being planned is a replica of the events in Ivory Coast or Kenya. The NGO, embassies and the opposition will announce the elections before the government body thereby undermining the official results.

So far, Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID) is pumping in 3 million and 800 thousand British Pounds to create a parallel voter tabulation system that will involve but not limited to sponsoring compliant, and carefully selected NGOs.

The NGOs will be trained and equipped with state of the art mobile devices and will be deployed in all the 5400 polling centres across the country. Their task will be to quickly announce the results as they are counted at each polling centre and send them to the command centre in Lusaka.

This system has been used before even in Zambia on an experimentally basis but this time it has a specific and well defined objective: to undermine official results.

Before Justice Florence Mumba was hounded out of ECZ; she was being indicted into this plan. She and the persons spearheading this project attended various secret meetings with donors to discuss modalities. She was the most important “fish” in the project. Her departure has therefore derailed the plan significantly hence the anger being exhibited. It is not concern for Justice Mumba”s Curriculum Vitae (CV) that is generating the current violent comments; it is what has been lost. The replacement of Mumba at ECZ will be followed closely.

ECZ is not the only target.

There has been attempts’ to get rid of Chomba Chela the director of Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) and his programmes officer Horance Chilando. The two are considered hindrances to the grand plan. But since removing them has failed, the plan now is to completely rubbish ZCID and make it irrelevant.

Instead, all the energies will be directed to The National Democratic Institute.

NDI is a USA NGO. It was established in1983. On its website, NDI states that “NDI and its local partners have worked to establish and strengthen political and civic organizations, safeguard elections, and promote citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.”

NDI is currently establishing its “base” in Zambia in preparation for the elections.  Zambia NGOs that have been profiting from the electoral system are back in business. There will be a lot of money for any NGO that is willing to say anything against government.

But what is the MMD doing. The MMD realised only a few weeks ago that there is something amiss going on at ECZ. They do not have a well developed plan to counter this opposition assault except using intimidation which they are good at. Most MMD officials and parts functionaries are engaged in internal squabbling.

On the international scene, president Banda will count on the support of China, Brazil and India and the SADC bloc.

China, Brazil and India will support president Banda due to the level of money these countries have pumped in during the reign of Banda.

Between January 9 and 11, 2011, China’s vice premier Hui Liangyu was in Zambia. He came to assess the political mood in Zambia. Insiders say he left a “sack” of money for president Banda’s campaign.

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