Where indeed were the three votes that have been given to the Democratic Party candidate in the recent Kabwata parliamentary by-election reported to have received a zero vote when the results were announced at the polling station.
Like Mr Fred Mubanga, we find it baffling that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) now has credited him with three votes that were omitted when the results at the polling station were announced.
Mr Mubanga, like many Zambians is right to question the credibility of the ECZ arising by the manner it has conducted itself over the Kabwata by-election.
He says the clarification by the ECZ that he got three votes at the polling station where he voted from after the returning officer announced that he had none is a clear demonstration that the elections were marred by irregularities.
He has a point to believe that that more of his votes were stolen. Even the other candidates could rightly question the results that were announced by the ECZ.
Mr Mubanga had rightly written to the ECZ to seek answers why he did not get a vote from the polling station where he and his family members voted from.
He said he was surprised that the returning officer at that particular polling station announced that he got zero.
“I am sure more of my votes were stolen from me because apart from family members, some of our party officials voted from there. My question is why did the returning officer announce that I got zero if I had three votes on me? ”
It boggles the mind how any candidate cannot get even one vote at a polling station one is voting from.
Mr Mubanga’s three votes came after the ECZ clarified that contrary to claims that he got zero, he had in fact managed to get the three votes in the Kabwata by-election at the polling station where he voted from.
ECZ Corporate Affairs manager Patricia Luhanga said that the investigations have revealed that he got three contrary to the assertions that he had zero.
The Kabwata by-election was contested by nine candidates in which UPND candidate Andrew Tayengwa emerged victorious after beating his closest contender, Clement Tembo of the Patriotic Front.
The PF have already disputed and said they would not accept the results while the Party for Economic Progress said they would petition the results.
PeP President Sean Tembo said the by-election was marred by several malpractices that included violence.
The political parties that have disputed the Kabwata by-election are doing what is within their rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution.
But what is important still is for the ECZ to ensure that it retains the public’s credibility as an institution they can trust to conduct transparent elections.
The experience that Mr Mubanga has gone through should not be allowed to occur considering the rigorous scrutiny that the counting process undergoes at the polling stations.
It is our hope that the ECZ must take note of the concerns raised by the various stakeholders and come up with improved operations.
That is what is expected of them, that they operate above board.