What happened in Chawama shows that mediocrity and poverty will continue winning and prevailing over prospects for development.
Meanwhile, Rupiah Banda has imposed his first cousin Esau Chulu as chairperson of the electoral Commission of Zambia.
Edgar Lungu and his co-patient the new Chwama MP should not be too excited. Those results reflect poverty, intimidation and misery. There is no way one can expect the people of Chawama to exercise their right to elect their leaders freely in the middle of threats and bribery. We have heard people opening their mouths loudly proclaiming how violence-free the voting in Chawama was. Really, was it not just in February when people were being killed and chased from markets for voting for UPND? And in April you expect these same people to go and vote against the killers in PF?
Chawama has 69, 228 registered voters. In January 25, 000 people voted. But this week only 10, 000 people voted. And Edgar Lungu calls this ‘strengthened democracy’? This is not democracy. It is ‘denyocracy’.
People are afraid to vote for their preferred candidates. Only the bravest among the brave ventured out to go and vote for the opposition. This is how Lungu would want to rule: intimidate the majority then allow a few of their supporters to go and vote. What Lungu does not know or ignores is the fact that the people he and his party are denying the right to freely choose their leaders are getting frustrated and angry every day. When Lungu and his friend celebrate what they call victory, the majority of people frown in anger. They see it as mockery. Tension builds. And that is how upheavals develop. Civil unrests do not just happen from the blues. They develop over time until they culminate into something ugly. For now you can laugh at people you think have lost but what you are creating is animosity and bitterness in the country.
We totally agree with Masaiti UPND candidate Peter Mumba when he says:
“There was a lot of money flying around. Certainly, the election was not free and fair as would have been expected. There was a lot of vote-buying by the PF, especially a day before elections. In Masangano, there was a house belonging to some PF official where voters were going after casting their votes to collect a K50,” he alleged. “Some animals were also slaughtered [and] those going to vote were given a chunk each and you know that the poverty levels are high. So I have taken the result as a man should. I’m forging ahead, I won’t be cowed down. We can’t allow riffraffs of criminals to continue plundering our national wealth.”