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By OLIVER SAMBOKO                                      

AN uproar has broken out within OCiDA, following reports that the Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) project, scheduled for the August 12 elections, has been hijacked by a partisan team led by the UPND.

Founding members are disturbed by reports that the project has been handed to Lusaka businessman Diego Cassili.

Apart from being Honorary Consul- General for Belgium, in Zambia, Cassili was reportedly aligned to UPND President Hakainde Hichilema in business and politics.

“We  would like to know if it is true that Mr. Cassili has recruited Lusaka lawyer John Sangwa and Kelvin Bwalya Fube among many others who are known for their views against President |Edgar Lungu, because if it is true then the neutrality and  outcome of the project will be seriously undermined,” he said.

However when contacted, Mr. Cassili refused to comment, stating that he would only speak today in a personal interview.

The founding OCiDA members are concerned that, if true, the project would be perceived as an opposition tool to discredit the legitimacy of the election outcome, in the event that the UPND lost.

The new system, they complained  would divert from the initial OCiDA PVT.

 He complained that OCiDA, which was established to contribute to good governance and sound management of the economy, should exhibit the highest level of transparency.

“That is why we would like to know if it is true that Mr. Cassili will be financing this exercise using individuals known for their views.” OCiDA had embarked on setting up and deploying a PVT tool across the country ahead of the elections.

The project would have meant deploying independent and voluntary PVT agents across all the 12, 152 polling stations who would report their key findings through encrypted messages to a central data collection station.

In turn, OCiDA would evaluate the quality and voting processes and confirm whether or not official results being announced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) reflected the votes cast at the polling stations.

The organisation would then post the results of the PVT on Facebook and Twitter for electorates to follow the counting process.

And the Patriotic Front says it was aware of manoeuvres by the UPND and its financiers to destabilise the country when they lose elections as it is now apparent that they are headed for a big loss.

PF Media Director Antonio Mwanza said the party was aware that the UPND propaganda which had gone into over drive with reckless lies and misinformation, was being funded multinationals and foreign nationals, whom he refused to name.

He said all this PVT was just a scheme to cause mayhem in the country.

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