By PRISCA LUMINGU
WE cannot concede defeat in the just ended Kabwata Parliamentary by-election because it was marred with electoral malpractices perpetrated by the ruling UPND, the Patriotic Front (PF) has claimed.
And Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president, Sean Tembo said they too have not accepted the results as a true reflection of the free will of electorate in the constituency.
The two opposition political parties have cried foul after UPND scooped and defended the Kabwata parliamentary seat that fell vacant after the untimely death of the then Member of Parliament, Mr Levy Mkandawire last year.
In an interview, PF acting President Given Lubinda claimed that the electoral malpractices by the ruling party in the Kabwata by-election started before the voting day.
“It is difficult for us to concede defeat when the election was marred by malpractices. As the acting president of PF, I was surrounded by heavily armed police officers the whole night before voting day to restrict my movement. Our people (monitors) were being removed from polling stations, harassed and stoned,” he said. Mr Lubinda, who bemoaned the alleged victimisation of PF members said they will conduct a postmortem before informing the nation their next move.
“I have called for an urgent meeting to conduct a postmortem for us to decide what to do next. Only after that, will we let the nation know our next move. We will make a pronouncement after conducting a postmortem,” Mr Lubinda said.
Meanwhile, Mr Tembo said they will petition the outcome of the Kabwata by-election in the courts of law because the election was not free and far.
Mr Tembo said the party did not accept the results because of the violence which was perpetrated against its members and supporters by the ruling UPND from the very onset of the election cycle.
“We wish to categorically state that we do not accept the results in the Kabwata Parliamentary by-election as a true reflection of the free will of the people,” Mr Tembo said.
The UPND retained the seat after its candidate, Mr Andrew Teyengwa polled 13, 574 against his closest rival Clement Tembo of the PF who polled 11, 192 out of 27, 677 votes cast.