UPND uncovers “rigging” plot in Katuba

Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) night patrols team has in the early hours of Tuesday 25th February 2014 unearthed a plot to rig the Katuba By-election, reports Zambian Eye Correspondent from Katuba.

This came to light when the patrol team gave chase to unregistered Nissan double cab vehicle carrying suspected Patriotic Front (PF) officials who in the process dropped 14 voters’ cards when jumping out of the vehicle.

An eye witness narrated that the UPND team received a tip off from the local people who were visited in their homes by officials from PF alleging buying voters’ cards.

The UPND team then started trailing the vehicle and only managed to corner them in Kanwanjiba area in Chilo Ward of Katuba Constituency.

“Information reached our camp that vehicles were going round distributing foodstuffs in exchange of voters’ cards,” narrated a UPND source at the scene.

In another development, there was a fierce scuffle last evening between Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officers and UPND officials at Kanwanjiba Basic School after it was discovered that officers opened ballot boxes in the absence of political party agents when there was assurance during the earlier briefing that all stakeholders would be invited at the point of distributing of election materials to polling stations.

A tip off led UPND Dundumwezi Member of Parliament, Edger Singombe who was manning Chilo Ward, to rush to Kanwanjiba Basic School where he found the ECZ officers with election materials and some ballot papers were found on the desk.

When confronted, the ECZ officers claimed that the materials were found loosely in the box and that they had not tampered with the materials. At this point some UPND cadres were not convinced with officials’ explanation as they started kicking and roughing up the officers, and could not heed to their leaders’ attempts to stop them.

The UPND has since lodged in a complaint to ECZ for the tampered material.

And information just received from Kabile Ward, is that six women suspected to be from PF in Lusaka were beaten after they were found standing on the road side at Kalala Basic School polling station stopping people going to cast their vote by giving them K20 notes.

The women pleaded for leniency claiming they were instructed by other people to carry out the exercise as they did not know it was an offence. UPND has engaged vigorous patrols ensuring that voters are not induced by any means.

The opposition party has disclosed that they have taken today’s election as a test of its revised Election Management Formula (EMF) ahead of the 2016 general election and the party will leave no stone unturned to any attempts of rigging today’s poll.

ECZ could not be reached for a comment by press time.