N D I F E o k o n z e k a ukavota ndipo tilibe mantha chifukwa ndife ololedwa ndi boma la Zambia utengako mbali m’masankho (We are ready to come and vote and we are not afraid because we have been permitted by the Zambian government to take part in the elections), declares headman Chisamba of Malawi’s Mchinji district.
When approached for an interview at his house in Malawi, headman Chisamba said he could not believe that this reporter who was severely beaten by PF cadres in Chikoka area last December was still alive.
He said it was not a secret that a lot of Malawians have been issued with green Zambian national registration cards and registered as voters to participate in the August 11 elections.
“Nchokondweletsa kuti pambuyo popandiwa mnjila ija achimwene mukali ndimoyo, tingoti Mulungu adalitse. Koma monga pa nkhani yomwe mulufunsa, ife tonse ndife okonzeka ukavota ndipo tilibe mantha chifukwa ndife ololedwa ndi boma la Zambia utengako mbali m’masankho. Tilinso ndi mapepala oyenekela, ndipo ndi ufulu wathu ukavota (It’s gratifying to see that following that beating, you are still alive, we can just say God bless you. But concerning the story you are asking, we are all ready to come and vote and we are not afraid because we have been permitted by the Zambian government to vote. We also have the required documents and it is our democratic right),” headman Chisamba said. Headman Chisamba is holder of a Malawi Electoral Commission voter’s card with a serial number 831959234 and Electoral Commission of Zambia voter’s card serial number 49170740, bearing the name Phiri Chidambo, w i t h N R C n u m b e r 188358/55/1 obtained at Mzigawa Primary School.
He argued that this was not the first time that the two countries engaged citizens to take part in the elections. “Chomwe muyenekela kudziwa ndichakuti sinthawi yoyamba ai. Kumbuyoku z a k h a l a z i k u c h i t i k a . Angakhale anzathu aku Zambia, naonso amabwela kukavota muno mu Malawi. Nchifukwa chake tilunena kuti zipepala tilinazo, boma la Zambia inatilola ndipo tizabwela. Ndiufulu wathu (What you need to know is that this is not happening for the first time. This has happened in the past, even our friends from Zambia also come to vote in Malawi.
That is why we are saying we have t h e d o c u m e n t s , t h e government permitted us and we will come, it’s our right),” headman Chisamba said. Asked whom he was coming to vote for, headman Chisamba said a person’s vote was a secret, but hastened to say, “Boma la PF ndiye inatithandidza kutenga zipepala zimenezi, komanso ana athu ali ndi zinchito mu Zambia, amapita kumasukulu akumeneko komanso ndi zipatala zomwe (the PF government helped us get these voting requirements, and our children have jobs in Zambia. They go to school there and also access medical facilities in Zambia).”
And headman Chisamba’s induna, Chilima Yamikani, h o l d s a n E l e c t o r a l Commission of Malawi voter’s card serial number 834266371, a Zambian national Registration card number 181504/55/1 bearing the name Yamikani Phiri, purporting to be from Chikoka area in chief Pembamoyo in Vubwi district and also holds a Zambian voters card serial number 56650036.
He disclosed that during the voter registration exercise, some Malawians with typical native names were advised by PF members to register using common Zambian names.
A n o t h e r M a l a w i a n , Chibanga Ngozani, holder of that country’s voter’s card serial number 834266561, is also registered in Zambia by ECZ under the name Moses Zulu, with voters card number 4 0 0 2 0 3 9 6 a n d N R C 173062/55/1, purporting to be from Kamaila village in Chikoka area of chief Pembamoyo in Vubwi. Other foreign voters talked to are from Kamwendo area of Malawi, Maula, Namitete in Makala, Chimwaza, Chidambo, Chibute, Tsumba 1 to 3 and Zambani.
The Malawians produced proof of being citizens of that country and also being in possession of Zambian NRCs