Electoral Commission of Zambia director Priscilla Isaac says she hopes the commission does not have individuals who are capable of giving server passwords to outsiders.
And ECZ chairperson justice Esau Chulu says an ECZ official is currently being interrogated for allegedly aiding the middle-aged man who was arrested by police on suspicions that he was tampering with results.
Meanwhile, justice Chulu says the ECZ may not be able to announce results within 48 hours.
Earlier today, a PF-linked man who’s now been identified as Samuel Chavuma was arrested by police after he was caught allegedly tampering with results in the ECZ IT centre.
Responding to questions on the incident, Isaac said she hoped ECZ did not have officials capable of giving passwords away.
“On the issue of logging into our system, I do not believe that has happened because if there was an issue of the disclosure of the password, then it means it would come from someone internally and that would really be a serious action which would be very drastic in terms of accessing our system. But I do believe and hope that we do not have individuals within ourselves who would be so irresponsible,” Isaac said.
She said the Commission was still awaiting an official position from police.
“With respect to the access to the IT section by this individual, we are yet to get a report from the police because I am told he is in police custody and indeed we need to ensure that our ICT section is secure. When I paid a visit this afternoon, I raised some concerns with our staff where I felt that we needed to take on more care in terms of the security and so I hope that our staff and security who are there will put mind in this,” said Isaac.
“It is the first time we are allowing political party agents into the accreditation room and this came through a representation from ourselves and to include other monitors and observers in the space and the atmosphere for our offices in order to work freely, the Commission felt that we limited to political party agents.”
And justice Chulu revealed that an ECZ official, only identified as Kasaro, was being interrogated for allegedly aiding Chavuma.
This was after UPND alliance partner Rachel Chileshe asked the Commission how a non ECZ official was able to gain access to the IT section, charging that he was aided by Kasaro.
“The Commission has gone to greater length to accommodate the stakeholders. To be as transparent as we can possibly be to the extent that we wanted to demystify the notion that the Commission was hiding something; figures were being cooked during elections in the server room, and so we allowed stakeholders, invited political party presidents on a conducted tour of our IT departments to get into the server room and see what obtains there, something which has never happened at all previously. So it is regrettable that I hear now that ECZ is conniving with the party in power to ensure that PF is returned into power,” justice Chulu said.
“Now, the question from the UPND which talked about Mr Kasaro, now Mr Kasaro is not here, allegations have been made against him, he is our officer, and due process demands that an individual be heard before he can be condemned and punished. Allegations have been made against him, the commission would like to find out what happened and if there’s evidence of truth, then the Commission will decide and determine the matter. For now, until we hear Mr Kasaro, and other parties involved, the person you are talking about I think is already under our care, I cannot say much but I want to say that your concern has been taken. We will get down to find out what exactly has happened.”
Meanwhile, justice Chulu said the Commission might not be able to announce the final results within 48 hours.
“Are we still on course in announcing of results within 48 hours? Madam, that’s the time we had set for ourselves that we will return results within 48 hours but I did mention even in the meeting with stakeholders that the results that are coming are rolling at a slow pace. The director mentioned earlier on that our systems seems to have picked up now this is why when we come back around 22:00 hours, we will be able to announce results in think in more than six constituencies because the traffic is getting a little bit better,” said justice Chulu.
“But give and take, I am not committing the Commission to 48 hours but we would like to say as ECZ that we would want to announce the results within that period of time, maybe slightly over because of the traffic I’ve talked about and because of the huge turnout. In this election we have had unprecedented voter turnout so we can go slightly over 48 hours but bear with us.”