By SYLVESTER MWALE, SERAH MWANZA and PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has urged his members and supporters to remain calm following the party’s loss in Tuesday’s presidential election.
Mr Hichilema, who lost to ruling Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Edgar Lungu, refused to concede defeat claiming that the votes had been stolen from him.
He said at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that the results did not reflect the will of the Zambian people.
Mr Hichilema said the momentum for UPND will continue to grow regardless of the outcome of the polls because the opposition party had been preparing for the 2016 general elections.
“Before then though, we firmly believe that the 2016 elections should be held on the platform of a new Constitution and Independent Electoral Commission to prevent a repeat of the shambles we have seen over the last few days,” he said.
Mr Hichilema noted that there were many aspects of the election process and results that were highly irregular and fell short of the democratic process Zambians aspired for.
The UPND leader claimed that there were some known individuals within the ECZ who have acted with utter impunity, corruption and total disregard for a democratic process by manipulating the election results.
He alleged that the Commission had failed to allow the members of the UPND to verify results in all the 150 constituencies despite agreeing to do so following the discrepancies.
But Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson, Irene Mambilima has said if Mr Hichilema alleges that the ECZ had manipulated the results, then the act was committed together with the UPND.
Ms Justice Mambilima said that the Commission had been transparent enough to engage political parties and all stakeholders from the printing of ballot papers to the counting of votes.
“He is entitled to his opinion we ensured transparency at every level even at the printing of ballot papers we were accompanied by political party representatives and other stakeholders. They witnessed the receipt, dispatch of the ballot papers to the polling stations.
“During the whole process they had agents in totaling centres and most of them signed the results, so if the results were manipulated we did it together,” Ms Justice Mambilima said.
She said that the solution in addressing such concerns lied in having a new Constitution in place.
Ms Justice Mambilima said most of the challenges faced by the Commission were beyond human intervention like the bad whether which Government has no control of.
Meanwhile, Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) candidate Edith Nawakwi condemned politicians that were busy attacking the Commission.