By Election Corruption

Sat, 26 May 2012 22:20:42 +0000

The excessively extravagant game of chance run by the Patriotic Front in the form of corrupt by elections is a matter that the National Assembly must consider very seriously.

Already lawyers representing the Patriotic Front are facing problems in claiming their dues from the party, but it is clear that the cost to public coffers will be even more.

With each by election the cost will run into Billions of Kwacha will inevitably be diverted from public commitment to serving the interests of the party.

This is morally wrong.

It would have been acceptable and forgivable if these petitions were, as the law provides, initiated by aggrieved candidates, but this is not the case. These petitions were initiated by the Patriotic Front secretariat and involved all the constituencies in which they lost. In other words they were commenced as a matter of party policy.

With all due respects, it is really not just and fair to ask the nation to foot the bill for a party policy that runs counter to the spirit of the law.

The law and indeed the electoral Act provides for petitions but these are meant to redress genuine issues arising from the elections, but this certainly does not mean attempts by a party to take a second chance at the ballot box, and in this case by taking advantage of incumbency.

There is no question that by elections are not only expensive but involve many arms of Government that would be better occupied attending to serious matters of concern.

Firstly the petitions have thus far clogged courts around the country. By their very nature they have enjoyed precedence over many other matters before the courts, and shortly they will occupy Supreme Court in the inevitable appeals that will arise.

Those that finally succeed will then make a demand on public coffers. This does not seem to be correct, and hopefully a viable and official challenge to this reckless expenditure can be mounted.

We have said before and would like to repeat that what is happening in Zambia has no precedence anywhere in the Commonwealth or anywhere else in the world.

There is no precedence anywhere else in the world where a party in power resorted to by-election in order to redress a shortfall in the National Assembly.

It is possible in Zambia because our culture would seem to be either naïve or indeed totally careless and uncaring about the use to which public resources are put.

The worst part is that resources for by-election WILL be found, while no money can be sourced to redress the critical water shortage afflicting our major referral hospital- University Teaching Hospital. Operations are delayed and important procedures can not be undertaken because the reticulation is inadequate.

It is a pathetic sight to see care givers bring water to the hospital for bed baths and other needs.

The results of a Presidential and general election must be conclusive otherwise it might as well be in order to hold another election today to test the veracity of the figures attained in September last year.

Our appeal is for the relevant committee in the National Assembly to question this matter seriously and make a determination as to whether this is indeed the most appropriate use of scarce public resources.

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