16 January 2013

Zambia: Sakeni Scoffs At UPND's Vote-Buying Accusations

GOVERNMENT says the accusations from the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) that there is buying of votes in Mpongwe constituency is false and irresponsible.

Chief Government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni said it was clear that such an accusation over the forthcoming Mpongwe by-election was merely a pretext to cause violence and disorder during the polls.

"It is a pity that the UPND, upon seeing that they cannot win the by-elections, now want to find an excuse for lawlessness," Mr Sakeni said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Sakeni, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, warned the UPND that the Government would not allow anybody to disregard the law.

He said law enforcement agencies would be on hand to maintain law and order during the forthcoming by-elections.

"Therefore, those contemplating to engage in any sinister activities must know that their actions will be met with a similar reaction from those legally charged with the responsibility to manage such situations.

"The police will firmly deal with perpetrators of violence during this period. We urge the UPND to let the people of Mpongwe exercise their democratic right to vote in a peaceful and quiet atmosphere," he said.

Mr Sakeni reiterated Government's call for the UPND to provide evidence of any buying of votes in Mpongwe.

He said the PF had presided over free, transparent and fair by-elections since assuming office in 2011.

"The record of the PF cannot therefore be faulted by outbursts premised on falsehoods," he said.

The UPND indicated that it had lost faith in the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and could not report the alleged malpractices in Mpongwe to the electoral body.

The party would instead resort to its own ways of resolving the alleged malpractices without the involvement of either the police or the ECZ.

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