UNITED Liberal Party president Sakwiba Sikota has advised Zambians to ignore an opinion poll published in The Post newspaper on Tuesday claiming that Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata would win the presidential elections by 55 per cent because the university that conducted it is non-existent.
Mr Sikota said yesterday that there was no Bradford University in Canada and challenged the lead researcher Edgar Ngoma to provide evidence for public scrutiny as the only way he could win the confidence of members of the public.
"This is a clear fabrication of an opinion poll. The people of Zambia are not ignorant, they are able to tell who is telling the truth and scrutinise issues. "Those conducting opinion polls must be mindful that Zambia has learned people and cannot be cheated," he said.
Mr Sikota said people conducting opinion polls should always strive to come up with a true reflection of what was on the ground. He said the latest survey conducted by Bradford University was fake because the learning institution was not in existence.
And a University of Zambia lecturer in the school of political science and administrative studies, Phineas Bbaala has said the opinion poll was meant to incite Zambians to reject the outcome of the September polls if it was not in favour of Mr Sata.
He said it was not possible for a single candidate to garner more than 55 per cent in this year's elections given the number of candidates contesting. Mr Bbaala said the opinion poll by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) indicating that President Rupiah Banda was more accurate and indicative of the situation obtaining in the country.
"Dr Neo Simutanyi has been conducting opinion polls for a very long time in this country and they have proved to be accurate. It is not possible for Mr Sata to garner 55 per cent," he said. He also said it was not fair for people to continue attacking Dr Simutanyi because of the opinion poll he had conducted.
Mr Bbaala, who worked with Dr Simutanyi, refuted reports the CPD chief was fired from the university.
"What we know as people who worked with Dr Simutanyi is that he resigned to pursue some consultancy work," he said. The Committee of Citizens has also condemned the opinion poll published in The Post newspaper, describing it as neither credible nor authentic.
Executive director Gregory Chifire said in a statement yesterday that the opinion poll lacked ingredients of genuine research and was done by fictitious institutions and individuals as researchers.
He challenged The Post to publish the names of the lecturers from Bradford University who allegedly did the research and the location of the university in Canada.
He further challenged The Post to deny that one researcher, John Chishimba was a retired employee of the Copperbelt University who was working in the purchasing department and was a PF member who had been promised a diplomatic posting by the PF if it formed government.
And a search by the Times of Zambia has showed that there is no university in Canada under the name of Bradford as claimed by an opinion poll by Mr Chishimba published by The Post newspaper. According to a list of the more than 90 universities in Canada, province by province, there is no such institution as Bradford University.
Meanwhile, the MMD on the Copperbelt has maintained that the ruling party is the favourite to win this year's polls despite an opinion poll published in The Post. Provincial information and publicity secretary, Yotam Mtayachalo said in Ndola yesterday that the opinion poll conducted by 20 lecturers in conjunction with Bradford University of Canada was highly misleading because it did not reflect the real situation on the ground.