…trashes 8,000 ballots claim, demands apology
By CHARLES MUSONDA
THE case in which a PF official Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) has been accused of giving 8, 000 pre-marked ballots for the Lusaka Mayoral election to a presiding officer on the eve of the August 12, 2021 general elections has crumbled as witnesses have denied ever meeting Mr Mwamba.
Mr Mwamba also denied ever meeting the presiding officer, Phineas Kazonga saying that on the material date he was in Kasama where he was one of the first people to cast their votes with his entire family.
A witness, Lee Mukupa who is said to have introduced Mr Kazonga to Mr Mwamba on the eve of the elections told the Local Government Elections tribunal sitting at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court that he never met the presiding officer who said he introduced him to GBM.
Mr Kazongo last week testified that Mr. Mwamba gave him 8,000 pre-marked ballot papers for mayoral elections in favour of one candidate.
He could not finish to talk about where the ballots ended up as the respondents objected on grounds that he had not obtained permission from ECZ to talk about the issue.
After obtaining clearance from ECZ, Mr Kazonga said he refused to get the said ballots and money he was offered as a bribery for him to fuse in the pre-marked ballots.
This is in a matter where UPND losing candidate Victor Nyasulu has petitioned the Lusaka Mayarol seat.
Mr. Mukupa who also stood as PF Muchinga Ward 24 candidate said on the night of August 11, 2021, he was personally not in Matero as he was attending a meeting at the home of then PF Matero parliamentary candidate Miles Sampa in Ibex Hill.
“I never met this person during that night. I never met GBM and I have never met GBM this year. I am surprised that this person mentioned my name,” he said.
Another witness Chrispin Kabole, 54, a politician and accountant of house number 1938/P5 in Barlastone, said on the material date the PF had a program in Matero when then President Edgar Lungu visited the area in the morning and that in the evening he went for a meeting at Miles Sampa’s residence where he found Mr. Mukupa with Mr. Sampa and others.
Mr. Kabole, who stood as PF Mwembeshi Ward candidate, said they needed to summarise the program for the Election Day and that the meeting at Mr. Sampa’s residence started around 19:00 hours and lasted until the early hours of August 12, 2021 between 02:00 hours and 03:00 hours.
“I wouldn’t agree if somebody said they were with Mr. Mukupa between 22:00 hours and 23:00 hours on 11th August 2021,” Mr. Kabole said.
Lusaka Mayor Chilando Chitangala also dismissed allegations that she distributed money and PF branded mealie meal through her agents to the electorate during campaigns in the run-up to the elections.
Mr. Kazongo claimed Mr. Mwamba gave him the ballots after Mr. Mukupa, 40, introduced him to Mr. Mwamba in a Range Rover at Matero community hall on the night of August 11, 2021.
Mr. Kazongo, 36, a teacher by profession said that Mr. Mwamba, who was PF deputy national mobilization committee chairperson, told him to fuse in the said pre-marked ballot papers at Matero community hall where he was working from.
Mr. Mwamba however said the black Range Rover which Mr. Kazongo claimed he was in when the two allegedly met at Matero Community Hall on August 11, 2021 was in Alliance Motors garage after it was towed there on August 4, 2021 after an accident and was only released on August 23, 2021.
Mr. Mwamba produced original quotations, invoices, and receipts for the towing and repair services of the motor vehicle.