A Copperbelt governance activist has expressed alarm about the ruling United Party for National Development’s (UPND) plan to appeal seats won by the Patriotic Front (PF) in the August election.
According to Patrick Mutanga, executive director of the Centre for Governance, if the courts find in favour of the ruling party, the country will revert to the one-party system of the first republic.
Mr Mutanga stated in an interview that if the ruling party becomes strong in parliament, there will be no democracy since power will be consolidated in the hands of one group.
“Democracy will not be practiced because powers will be concentrated in one camp as they will have the numbers to pass any law without objection. As you are aware ,the ruling party scooped majority seats and they only need 10 seats to attain a third majority in parliament. This is not healthy, for a democratic state,” he emphasized.
Mr. Mutanga further stress that’s democratization requires opposition party to provide checks and balances through debates if the country is to attain social economic development desired.
On this score, President Hichilema has through his party’s spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa has advised against petitioning of the 12 August elections results.
Mr Hakainde said his administration would rather focus on ensuring campaign pledges of developing the nation rather than petitioning results.
Meanwhile, UPND Copperbelt Province Information and Publicity Secretary (IPS)Lawrence Mwanza has defended the ruling party’s position as it is petitioners’ democratic right to be heard by the courts when aggrieved.
Mr. Mwanza says petitioners have overwhelming evidence saying the ruling party in the region has decided to support the decision to correct wrong acts committed. He said it is the desire of the party to leave behind a legacy of having governed the country in line with the rule of law.
“The losing petitioners are stakeholders of an election and as a party, we cannot infringe on their constitutional rights. We need to set a record that elections must be free and fair and not married with malpractices. The will of the people is supreme and this is what the party stands for,” he said.
On the Copperbelt province, UPND has petitioned 8 parliamentary seats and two mayoral seats. In Kitwe district, the seats petitioned so far include the Mayoral seat and four parliamentary constituencies namely Wusakili, Kamfinsa, Chimwemwe and Kwacha.
In the Ndola district, the Mayoral and Kabushi constituency seats have been contested. Others petitioned are Luanshya central and Kalulushi parliamentary seats.