By GRACE CHAILE LESOETSA
THE unprecedented number of election petitions is not only undermining the legitimacy of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) but also weakening its financial base, says veteran politician George Mpombo.
He said the high number of election petitions were a drainpipe of the country’s financial resources.
Dr Mpombo said the over 70 Parliamentary petitions as well as the more than 200 Local Government appeals were politically and morally unacceptable.
The former Defence minister in an interview described the petitions as a severe setback to Zambia’s democratic and electoral process.
He said that the petitions had exposed the inability for political players to accept defeat.
Dr Mpombo said the petitions would gobble the meagre resources, have which would in turn undermine ECZ’s process of running by-elections.
“These petitions are unnecessary drainpipes and undermining the legitimacy of ECZ. ECZ is going to spend mammoth resources to defend themselves against these petitions. It is weakening the financial base of ECZ.
“I think I have heard UPND as a party praising ECZ for conducting the elections in a transparent and well-coordinated manner and then you have people petitioning against the same body that was given kudos for hosting those same elections,” he said.
Dr Mpombo said those petitioning were sending a message to the outside world that the electoral process was so vulnerable.
“These petitions send a chill down the political spine. People must understand that when you are going into an election, you either win or lose. I have yet to come across a nation where with that number of petitions. It sends a bad picture knowing that Zambia is known as a beacon of plural politics,” he said.
He appealed to ECZ and political players to have a round table meeting to ensure that such a scenario does not repeat.