By ADRIAN MWANZA
ELECTION rigging claims by UPND President Hakainde Hichilema are dangerous and intended to undermine the electoral process in Zambia, Patriotic Front Media Director, Antonio Mwanza has said.
Mr Mwanza said Mr Hichilema was panicking and making dangerous unsubstantiated allegations of rigging because he could smell defeat in the August 12 elections.
He said Mr. Hichilema had received a lot of international funding and was under pressure to find an excuse for losing yet again.
“And I want to make a direct accusation to him that he has received a lot of money from international funders and he can deny it and even take me to court,” Mr. Mwanza said.
He charged that Mr Hichilema had promised to give the mines on the Copperbelt to multinationals for backing and bank rolling his campaign.
Mr Mwanza has challenged Mr Hichilema to substantiate the claims if they were not desperate antics by an individual facing defeat.
He accused Mr Hichilema of making similar allegations when he lost elections to Levy Mwanawasa in 2006, to Rupiah Banda in 2008 and 2011 to Michael Sata, Edgar Lungu in 2015 and 2016 and in all these elections he blamed his loss on fictitious rigging.
Mr Mwanza said at this stage, Mr Hichilema should not mention rigging because it was plain that he had just been rejected.
“He has failed to prove rigging in all these elections involving different presidential candidates. The last time, he had 14 days to prove his rigging allegations and failed lamentably,” Mr Mwanza said.
Mr. Mwanza said the allegations made by Mr. Hichilema were a sign that he knew he could not defeat President Lungu.
He wondered how the elections would be rigged when the ballot papers were being printed in Dubai with a delegation from all stakeholders including the UPND observing the printing process.
Mr. Mwanza explained that the same delegation from the UPND will be at the airport to receive the ballot papers in Zambia up to the point of storage facility and will further have their own agents in the polling stations on election day.
“And when we finish voting, the counting of the votes are done in public view, with every polling agent, every electoral observer being in the polling station,” Mr. Mwanza explained.
He said it was embarrassing for Mr. Hichilema to continue claiming that elections were being rigged when he had clearly lost in all five elections he has participated in.
And Mr. Mwanza stressed that there is no doubt that President Lungu would retain the presidency come August 12 because of what the PF had achieved during his first term in office.
He said this year’s elections will be the toughest that Mr Hichilema has participated in because he has no message to tell Zambians what he will do if voted into office because the PF under President Lungu had delivered.
Mr. Mwanza added that Zambians had rejected the economic message that the UPND were using as a campaign strategy because they had realised that the challenges being faced in the country were not exclusive to Zambia but the world at large due to the Covid-19 pandemic.