KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
THE ruling Patriotic Front (PF) has distanced itself from reports that it intends to rig this yearâ€™s general election, saying the only time it has been associated with the word rigging was when its late President Michael Sata lost the 2006 elections.
In a statement released in Lusaka yesterday, PF deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says President Lungu will win the elections, not because of rigging but because he has done a tremendous job since assuming office.
She says the President has given Zambians a constitution they have been crying for; invested massively in the energy sector whose results will be seen soon, coupled with the slashing of electricity tariffs following an outcry from the public; and has shown that he is a people-person, a factor that counts in winning polls, hence the reason he does not need to rig.
â€œThe ruling Patriotic Front is disappointed that under immense desperation, The Post, a daily tabloid with an established record of fabrications, has continued its pathetic attempt to give Zambians an impression that the PF will rig this yearâ€™s elections,â€ Mrs Phiri says.
â€œWe are doubly disappointed that as usual, the discredited, debt-ridden tabloid has continued to use its loud-mouthed vuvuzelas, including Vernon Johnson Mwaanga, a well-known attention [seeker] who will say anything in order to grab a headline in this ill-conceived pilgrim.
â€œWe, therefore, would like to set the record straight and distance the PF from this ridiculously cheap propaganda being peddled by the trigger-happy tabloid.
â€œFirstly, rigging is not a word that is associated to the PF, in fact the first time the PF discussed rigging was when President Michael Chilufya Sata, MHSRIP was robbed of an election in 2006 and he named The Post as being part of a scheme that fixed the result of that yearâ€™s poll.â€
She says in the 2006 elections, The Post had gone ahead to announce the results of the poll, widely believed to have been won by the late President Sata, and the haste with which they did so suggested some collusion of sorts.
â€œâ€¦ Mr Fred Mâ€™membe and his â€˜Coalition of the willingâ€™ must concentrate on paying back tax payersâ€™ money to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) instead of trying to pass yellow journalism for real text book journalism,â€ the former Munali member of Parliament says.
â€œAnd just a word of caution to Mr Mwaanga, have you forgotten that it is this same Post newspaper that called you a disgraced convicted Mandrax drug dealer day in and day out until you could not walk with your head high anymore?
â€œMr Mwaanga is more familiar with rigging than the PF â€¦ he must report his suspicions to the police and the Electoral Commission of Zambia because it is a crime to withhold information that may be vital to stopping a crime of rigging. We challenge him to do that.
â€œEvery time Mr Mwaanga comments on rigging, he must look at the â€˜Man in the Mirrorâ€™ for he is known as the epitome of the vice, not the PF. It is VJ whose face pops up when you google search â€˜rigging and Zambiaâ€™â€.
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka