THE National Democratic Congress has written to the Electoral Commission of Zambia to complain about the PF’s hire of the Chilubi ferry at Samfya Harbour.
In a letter to the Chief Electoral officer, NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba said the hiring of the ferry was a serious electoral malpractice and abuse of office by the ruling party.
According to information emerging from Samfya ahead of the February 13 Chilubi by-election, the PF have hired the ferry, which connects to Chilubi, to be used solely by members and sympathisers of the ruling party.
“The ferry that carries vehicles has strictly been hired and reserved to carry government (and PF of course) vehicles. By the way, we have just sneaked in the passenger boat as it is carrying a lot of PF cadres from other provinces and a few locals. It will come back for another trip as some people and luggage have remained. They have even deliberately parked the ferry for vehicles in Chilubi and it is only called to go to Samfya Harbour when their vehicles come to be ferried,” read a text message from a source in Chilubi.
The source, who was part of the group that travelled together with Bangweulu member of parliament Anthony Kasandwe, said the PF have also ‘bought off’ all form of boats as well as canoes so that competing players are cut off.
Akafumba complained that if NDC vehicles are not allowed to be ferried, it means the party would not have access to Chilubi Island as well access to the elections.
“Sadly, our officials travelling to Chilubi Island, and currently at Samfya Harbour, have been told that government has hired the ferry for the next 20 days and that all private vehicles cannot be allowed to pass. Our officials and vehicles have been stuck at the harbour for two days now as they cannot cross over due to this,” he complained. “As the name suggests, the Patriotic Front, PF, government knows that Chilubi is an island and there is no other way we can access the place but through this same harbour. So if our vehicles are not allowed to be ferried, then it means that we do not have access to Chilubi Island and no access to the elections.” Akafumba urged the ECZ to intervene in the matter stating that the harbour was the only route to Chilubi Island.
Akafumba urged the ECZ to suspend the by-election should the PF fail to comply.
“This is election time and for government to do this at a time when other vehicles for other parties are supposed to be passing is a serious electoral malpractice and abuse of power of the highest kind,” said Akafumba.
“Failure to comply by the PF should then make the Commission to suspend these elections, as we will not be able to take part as we are constitutionally entitled to do so. Your positive consideration in the matter will be highly appreciated and we are available for any further discussions regarding this matter.”
The Chilubi seat fell vacant last November following the death of area member of parliament Rosaria Fundanga.