HAKAINDE Hichilema has told Zambians to stand up and reject the cunning actions of the “intransigent” Electoral Commission of Zambia.
Meanwhile, Hichilema, the UPND leader, says he will not need a presidential retirement home and that such a provision actually needs to be reversed.
He was speaking during an interactive virtual youth indaba on Sunday evening.
The programme was live on his Facebook page.
Young Zambians across the globe engaged Hichilema on various topics and he answered.
On the topic of voter registration, Hichilema said he did not think: “we should allow the electoral commission to dictate how our election is managed.”
“We should not allow the Electoral Commission to bully everybody around. The Electoral Commission is a creation of the people of Zambia – [it] should do what the people of Zambia want,” Hichilema said. “The people of Zambia want a free, fair and credible election and to do that, they don’t have, in my view, to do away with the current voters’ register.”
He noted that the current voters’ register was produced legally.
“The law actually talks about a continuous voter registration. We cannot be forced to be disenfranchised by an intransigent electoral commission, one which appears to be working for a political party,” Hichilema said. “We as Zambians should stand up and reject this notion that the electoral commission can willy-nilly disenfranchise citizens. They don’t have that right!”
He added that he felt it would be reasonable for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to uphold the current voters’ register.
“Additional voters must be registered – those who entered the voting age. But those who are already registered as voters like me and others, we must stay on the register. If it is necessary to clean the register by removing dead people, so be it,” he explained. “But you cannot use an excuse to disenfranchise citizens. That is illegal, unacceptable [and] that constitutes rigging at this early stage. We also know what is happening with the issuance of NRCs; it is a chaotic situation. Rigging doesn’t happen on the voting day only; it is happening right now. Zambians must stand up for their rights. Nobody will stand up for your rights!”
Hichilema asserted that Zambians ought to claim their rights.
“ECZ must not be allowed to do away with the current voters’ register,” he underscored.
Meanwhile, Hichilema said he had no excitement of getting lavish, once he assumes the Republican presidency.
“There is no excitement for HH, when we are in public office – God’s will and courtesy of the people of Zambia – to spend what is unnecessary. There is no excitement to buy a house in Dubai. I don’t need a house in Dubai!” he said. “There is no excitement to buy expensive planes – $130 million plane. A top of the range Gulfstream in a country where people have no medicines in hospitals! There is no motivation for me to spend $200 million on maintenance contract of the Gulfstream.”
All that money, Hichilema believes, “if not applied in that wasteful manner,” could actually be channeled to other areas that would generate revenue and help to grow the economy and for job creation.
“So, there’s absolutely no need for me to dream of a presidential retirement home being built for me. It’s not necessary! It doesn’t make sense to me and we should end that sort of provision for people seeking public office,” said Hichilema.