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Germany donates K35m for polls, 3 more pull out of contest

GERMANY has given Zambia K35.5 million to help meet the costs of the January 20, 2015 presidential election.
And Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) president Edwin Sakala, United Nationalist Party (UNP) president Ackim Ngosa and Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) president Mubita Wakumelo have withdrawn from the January 20 presidential election.
Germany Ambassador Bernd Finke said in a statement yesterday that his country is Zambia’s partner and will support a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election.
“Germany stands united with our Zambian friends in our commitment to democracy and good governance and we look forward to observing a robust and spirited campaign that is peaceful and leads to a free, fair and transparent election on January 20, 2015,” Mr Finke said.
He said that given the long-standing relationship and high-level engagement, Germany is keenly following the presidential election, which he described as “an important event in the history of Zambia”.
Mr Finke is hopeful that next year’s poll will add another chapter to Zambia’s impressive record of democratic, peaceful and orderly transfer of power from one president to another.
“It is Germany’s understanding and intention that the Zambian Government now has at its disposal additional means to secure the implementation of the election,” he said.
Last month, the USA gave Zambia US$1.6 million (K9.6 million) while Japan gave US$642,000 for the election.
US ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said the money will go to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for the monitoring of elections and procurement of materials for the election.
The Japanese funding was given under the country’s emergency grant aid through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) trust fund, which has been set up for next month’s presidential election.
Meanwhile, Mr Sakala, Mr Ngosa and Mr Wakumelo have joined five other party presidents who have pulled out of the race.
These are James Mtonga of the Common Cause Democracy, Gerry Sikazwe of the People’s Redemption Party, Alex Muliokela of the Poor People’s Party, Cosmo Mumba of the National Revolution Party and an unidentified Democratic Party candidate.
Mr Sakala told journalists yesterday that his party has deciced to pull out of the race because it has no capacity to carry out a nationwide campaign.
“ZDDM had a preferred candidate in the name of former President Rupiah Banda who due to circumstances beyond our control has not been able to file in his nominations,” he said.
And Mr Ngosa said he will not participate in the January 20 presidential election because of circumstances beyond his control.
He said he will participate in the 2016 general elections.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) public relations manager Crispin Akufuna confirmed Mr Wakumelo’s withdrawal.
Mr Akufuna said Mr Wakumelo has not stated the reasons for his withdrawal.
Eleven candidates have filed their nomination papers for the forthcoming presidential election.
They are Patriotic Front (PF) president Edgar Lungu, United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema, MMD president Nevers Mumba, Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi and Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) leader Ludwig Sondashi.
Others are National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo, UNIP leader Tilyenji Kaunda, Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba, 4th Revolution leader Eric Chanda and Christian Democratic Party president Danny Pule.
And the January 20 presidential election returning officer, acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda yesterday declared that the 11 candidates have validly been nominated for the forthcoming poll.

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