The Eastern Development Foundation (EDF) has lambasted Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu for having joined a crusade against the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) launched by the Patriotic Front (PF) to discredit and intimidate the institution.
EDF president Kelvin Chulu charged that it was unfortunate that Mr Lungu had decided to join a crusade against ECZ by vilifying its constitutional mandate of superintending the elections in the country.
This was after Mr Lungu wrote to ECZ demanding that it should impose electoral sanctions against former Members of Parliament (MPs) whose seats have been nullified by the courts of law on account of corruption.
Mr Lungu accused ECZ of intentionally ignoring Section 22 of the electoral Act of 2006 which states that an aspiring candidate convicted of any corrupt practice or illegal practice or who is reported guilty of any corruption practice as determined by the Supreme or High Courts shall not be qualified for election as member of the National Assembly.
But Mr Chulu accused Mr Lungu of championing the agenda of PF, stating that TIZ was instigating government to block opposition political candidates whose seats have been nullified from re-contesting.
Mr Chulu said Mr Lungu had been acting like a hired mercenary against opposition political parties since PF formed government in 2011 adding that if the TIZ chief was looking for a job, he should openly apply to the ruling party instead of maligning the candidates whose election to the House had been nullified.
He said opposition MPs whose seats have been nullified had not been convicted by the courts and therefore could not be barred from re-contesting their seats.
Mr Chulu alleged that Mr Lungu had been hired by the ruling party to scandalize and disturb the independence of ECZ , adding that the campaign against the commission and some MPs in EasternProvince would never succeed.
He said EDF was disappointed that Mr Lungu had decided to join what he termed ‘the evil forces’ in the ruling party to persecute the people of EasternProvince especially former President Rupiah Banda and his family.
“If Mr Lungu was truly against corruption, he should have been the first one to condemn Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba for refusing to appear before the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to explain his oil corruption deal.
“Mr Lungu should have been the first one to denounce PF ministers who are involved in the smuggling of mealie meal. But he has been unable to condemn such acts because he is against the people of EasternProvince,’ Mr Chulu said.
Mr Chulu said the TIZ chief should stop attacking people from EasternProvince because the region was already stressed with the persecution of Mr Banda and his family.
He said Mr Lungu should not concentrate on the MPs from the opposition because there were many MPs in the ruling party that could have been elected fraudulently but that their seats could not be nullified because they were enjoying the immunity of incumbency.
Mr Chulu has challenged Mr Lungu to officially join the PF so that he stopped hiding behind TIZ to attack citizens who could not defend themselves.