UNITED Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema says he will not concede defeat accusing the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) of manipulating votes.
But ECZ Chairperson Irene Mambilima has dismissed the allegation, saying if this was so then other stakeholders, including the UPND were involved in the purported electoral malpractice.
Mr Hichilema told a media briefing yesterday that the election had been stolen from him and he argues that the outcome does not reflect the will of the people.
“This has not been a level playing field from the start. We have experienced widespread violence against our supporters and party members throughout the campaign as well as deep irregularities in the counting process,” Mr Hichilema claims.
“Whilst we want to reinforce the personal high-esteem in which we, the UPND, hold the Chairperson and the commissioners of the ECZ, there are some known individuals within the ECZ who have acted with utter impunity, corruption and total disregard for a democratic process by manipulating the election results,” he charged.
“Despite the fact that the election was stolen from us, I urge all our party members and supporters across our country to remain calm and peaceful for the good of Zambia,” he said.
The UPND leader said his party will now focus on putting plans into place for the 2016 general election.
“We firmly believe that the 2016 elections should be held on the platform of a new constitution and Independent Electoral Commission to prevent a repeat of the shambles we have seen over the last few days,” he said.
Mr Hichilema was flanked by former First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Lunte member of Parliament (MP) Felix Mutati, Kasama MP Geoffrey Bwalya, Alliance for Democratic Development (ADD) leader Charles Milupi and other senior UNDP officials.
But Mrs in dismissing Mr Hichilema’s allegation, said the commission conducted the poll within the confines of the Electoral Act.
“If indeed the Commission has stolen votes, then the ECZ has done it with all stakeholders including UPND officials because we verified results together and they were involved in the electoral process,” she said.
Meanwhile, former Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication in the Chiluba administration Alfred Ndhlovu has said it is sad that the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has refused to concede defeat and is instead accusing ECZ of manipulating the results in favour of Mr Lungu.
In a statement Mr Ndhlovu appealed to Mr Hichilema to demonstrate educated and scholarly behaviour by conceding defeat.
“All presidential candidates should humbly concede defeat publicly and pledge to improve on their future endeavours,” Mr Ndhlovu said.