It is not difficult to understand why the MMD is bitter about their electoral defeat and therefore demise in Mufumbwe constituency. Mufumbwe is a rural area. The MMD has been rigging elections by cheating people that its strength lies in the villages. They claim that even though urban dwellers detested anything MMD, the party draws its legality and legitimacy from villagers.
Clearly theresult of Mufumbwe is a direct reproach and threatens to expose this 10–year old lie.
In 2001, the MMD lost elections to the opposition led by late Anderson Mazoka, or to put it more accurately, Fredrick Chiluba ‘stole’ votes and gave them to his creation called Levy Mwanawasa.
The nation would have gone to war then. But because we are Zambians, tolerant but not foolish, the nation moved on in peace and tranquility. But Chiluba and Mwanawasa, like most thieves would do, engaged themselves in a fight for the stolen goods. Chiluba is still being haunted up to now though he would rather pretend that he has peace now.
From 2001, the MMD has continued rigging elections even in bye-elections.
It is not surprising therefore that someone had to do something about it.
And that something came from Mapatizya, a rural area. At that time, Mazoka, not Ackson Sejani had decided that ‘enough is enough.’
He had vowed that, after being robbed in 2001, he will not allow a repetition in 2006. At that time, Mazoka was preparing to lead the pact of UNIP, FDD and UPND into the 2006 elections. So Mapatizya bye-election was by all means a test ground for 2006 elections. Unfortunately, Mazoka’s health at this time was failing. A few months after preventing the rigging in Mapatizya, he traveled to South Africa for medical review. His condition had greatly improved and no one thought he would die on this trip. But the nation was told a few days later he had died, probably strangled on his bed.
The MMD went on and stole elections from Michael Sata who had filled the vacuum left by Mazoka. Just like in Mazoka’s case in 2001, Sata won the elections in all the most populous urban areas and people were just waiting for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to announce the opposition leader as the duly elected president. But that was not to be. Instead, Dan Kalale and other characters at ECZ said there were more votes from villages which were in favour of the MMD. Sata was told eventually that he had lost.
Then God killed Mwanawasa. The nation had a presidential bye-election. In the same fashion and method, Sata was again told that he had lost to unknown and unattractive Rupiah Banda.
The PF and UPND then formed a pact to see how they can defeat the MMD. So far it has worked. Out of the four parliamentary bye-elections conducted since the pact was formed, the pact has won three; MMD one in the home town of their president.
But the opposition knows that the MMD can not be trusted. They rig elections and will always rig using their facility called ECZ.
So, they have to safeguard the national vote. They are falling back on the Mapatizya formulae founded by Mazoka with Sejani as operation director.
The Mapatizya formula involves vigilantism and alertness. It is meant to stop pre and post voting rigging tricks.
It involves a lot of interventions including physical when the situation demands so. The MMD calls this violence. The opposition calls it intervention.
When electoral malpractice and unfair campaign methods are detected, the opposition cadres are required to intervene physically since the police, usually under the command of the most senior MMD cadre present, can not do anything.
Usually the MMD uses government infrastructure for rigging. So the opposition cadres are particularly alert to movements in these areas.
The formulae require agents of the opposition at polling stations to immediately send results to the command centre for tallying. Once the command centre has counted and discovered that they have won, they are not expected to co-operate with anyone trying to delay the announcement of results.
This system is set to be replicated to the entire country next year.
The MMD can not blame the opposition for such. It is the MMD to blame. The government allows a discredited ECZ to preside over elections. They retain the same people to run the ECZ even when they know that some names just when they are mentioned, the nation becomes suspicious.
But to the MMD, this is ok because it works in its favour.
But Mufumbwe was shocking to the MMD and they are still confused. Not that they don’t know the truth. They know they are not popular but have been telling lies which they have started believing themselves.
President Banda is particularly upset because he knows the direct meaning of all this. Mufumbwe was held by his minister and considered the entire north-western province as his stronghold. But losing two bye-elections in the same province within a few months has really disturbed the president.
And to think that the presidential and general elections are less than 20 months away should be very frightening. And this is the province where the MMD thinks it has taken a lot of investment from China. It is actually a rebuke to the government. It shows that people are not satisfied with government efforts. They do not agree with whatever government is doing in that area.
The MMD is worried that the party, like UNIP, will be restricted to Eastern province if the current trend continues.
So in desperation, they are appealing against the Mufumbwe verdict.
It is possible that the MMD will find a friendly judge who will overturn the people’s choice in Mufumbwe.
But if and when that happens, will the people of Mufumbwe give the MMD a vote? We shall wait and see.
Maybe they want the court to go a step further by not just overturning the people’s choice but by imposing the MMD candidate Mulondwe Muzungu as the ‘duly’ elected MP.
As for the ECZ, they should not even complain. ECZ is a worthless commission which has no credibility at all. Which election have they ever ran and everybody was satisfied?
Now they are busy misusing money by paying for useless complaints on TV when its them who are mandated to prevent such things from happening.
Whatever the case, people must be ready for Mapatizya formulae in 2011, after all the opposition has seen that it works.
It is amazing how many government officials like teachers and police officers one meet who are anti-government.