Zambia: 3 East UPND Officials Nabbed for Electoral Malpractices

SOME United Party for National Development (UPND) officials in Eastern Province have been arrested for alleged electoral malpractices involving the collection of voters’ cards and purporting that Malawians had registered to vote in the August 11 elections.

Those apprehended are the party’s chairperson for Rukuzye Ward in Chipangali Consituency, Tumeyo Phiri, along with two others.

Mr Phiri, who is Mbobo Village headman along with Alaina Phiri, who heads Katamanda Village, were charged with the offence of illegal practices involving elections after they were allegedly involved in a scam of collecting voters’ cards from unsuspecting voters.

Two female teachers from Katete Primary School, Punji Chona Malata and Caroline Munyumbe were being pursued by police for the same offence.

Eastern Province police chief Alex Chilufya said in a statement yesterday that according to investigations, the voters’ cards were collected from areas considered to be strongholds of the Patriotic Front (PF).

“The two suspects, Tumeyo Phiri and Alaina Phiri, have been arrested and charged with the offence of illegal practices relating to the polls. The two will appear in court soon,” Mr Chilufya said.

He said there was collaborative action between the UPND and The Post meant to disenfranchise the voters and ultimately disadvantage the PF in the forthcoming elections.

He said the village headmen informed the police during investigations that the teachers in question had gone to the area to conduct a voter sensitisation exercise at a Church building in Mafuta Village under the UPND.

Mr Chilufya said during the exercise, the teachers asked the two village headmen to take them to Ms Phiri, promising to give her K2,500 if she could collect voters’ cards from unsuspecting members of the public.

She was given an initial payment of K500 and she managed to collect more than 100 cards.

Mr Chilufya said the entries for the cards were similar to those that were published in The Post on claims that the owners were from Malawi.

Meanwhile, the 28 suspected UPND cadres apprehended at party vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba’s residence in Kasama, Northern Province, are undergoing police screening.

The suspects were found in possession of offensive weapons and were arrested for being in possession of petrol bombs during a raid on Wednesday.

Northern Province police commissioner Bonny Kapeso said in an interview yesterday that the suspects were being questioned over the matter before being charged with various offences.

On whether Mr Mwamba, commonly known as GBM, would also face some charges, Mr Kapeso said such a measure would be taken once it was ascertained that he was directly involved in the illegal dealings.

Mr Kapeso dismissed claims by GBM’s wife Chama that the police stole K345,000 during the raid, saying his officers acted professionally.

Source: The Times of Zambia.