By Francis Maingaila
LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) – Zambia’s anti-corruption authority is investigating reports of electoral fraud, including vote buying and bribing voters, allegedly being committed by competing parties during the campaign for the Aug. 11 general election.
Timothy Moono, spokesperson for the Anti-Corruption Commission, issued a statement saying that the commission has received numerous complaints from stakeholders, political parties, and other interest group on the conduct of political parties, including candidates and their agents ahead of the election.
“Some of the complaints the commission received relate to the manner some candidates obtained qualifications which enable them to qualify to stand for various elective positions in the coming election. In some cases, the commission is investigating the manner some candidates obtained their National Registration Card,” he said.
Further, Moono explained that the commission received complaints of vote buying and bribery taking place in some constituencies by competing parties.
“In some places, electorates are bribed not only to defect and side with certain political parties other than the political parties of their choice but also to sell their voters cadres so that they cannot vote for their choice of parties and candidates in the coming election.”
According to Moono, such accusations, if left unaddressed, will render the coming election not free and fair and will create grounds for losing parties and candidates to protest its outcome.
“And when this happens, it is the government of the Republic of Zambia that will stand to lose a substantial of money in servicing election petitions.”
Moono said that in the 2011 general election, about 60 parliamentary seats were petitioned by the losing candidates, and 58 were nullified due to electoral fraud.
“The commission is of the view that the money which was spent on subsequent by-elections, petitioned after the 2011 general, could have been used for important national developmental projects,” he said.
Each petition cost the treasury 6 million Zambian kwachas (nearly $645,000), he said, which multiplied by the 60 parliamentary seats petitioned, is a lot of money the Treasury lost, he said.
Zambia has 156 parliamentary seats.