Zaloumis & Chipenzi not fit for ECZ Office

Zaloumis &Chipenzi not fit for ECZ Office

Why Zaloumis and Chipenzi at ECZ will not announce the defeat of HH in 2026: ECZ is now just a political collaborator of the UPND in power

By Dr. Chris ZUMANI Zimba

1. Stubborn Stakeholders opposition and rejection to Chipenzi and Zaloumis at ECZ

On 13th June, 2021, New Congress Party President Peter Chanda branded Mr Chipenzi, then GEARS Initiative executive director for justifying UPND political violence on Patriotic Front members and marketers in Mandevu Constituency as ‘a known fully-fledged UPND sympathizer’.

In justifying the UPND violent behavior, Mr Chipenzi as GEARS boss then said, “panga for panga of self defence, is what the UPND used is in line with the Constitution and section 17 of the penal code”. Surprisedly, Chipenzi was trying to justify UPND’s criminal conduct before the 2021 Presidential and General Elections as GEARS boss and elections expert.

On 28th November, 2022, News Digger’s Angela Munchishi did a story entitled “Chipenzi and Zaloumis are UPND, ECZ will never hold credible polls”. To date, this news headline for Diggers Newspapers against Chipenzi and Zaloumis stands both factual and accurate before the eyes of all Zambians.

Mr. Nasson Msoni, President of All peoples Congress (APC) was quoted on 28th November, 2022 by “Zambian Observer” in their article titled “Zaloumis, Chipenzi Are UPND Stooges- Msoni”. This is the permanent worry and troublesome position of all opposition politicians, independent scholars, NGOs and Zambians everywhere.

Speaking to News Diggers on 28th November, 2022, late Honorable Tutwa Ngulube, a prominent Lusaka lawyer and PF MCC observed and argued that “the appointment of Mwangala Zaloumis and McDonald Chipenzi as ECZ chairperson and commissioner respectively was wrong because the two were UPND members and would not be neutral in their duties”

On 30th November, 2023, Dr. Chishimba Kambwili warned HH that “My Brother President Hakainde Hichilema, there are so many people you can appoint as chairpersons for ECZ, but those people should not be Mrs Zaloumis and Mr Chipenzi. I have nothing against both. But she and Chipenzi are partisan affiliated to the United Party for National Development (UPND)”.

On 13th December, 2022, Copperbelt-based outspoken Catholic Priest Fr. Augustine Mwewa observed that “Chipenzi has been defending UPND even when they are supposed to speak. He has been like a spokesperson for UPND and he is so emotional on UPND matters. Sometimes he tries to be objective but he is politically inclined. He does not qualify to be in ECZ,” he noted.

”If you want Zambia with no tension and want to regard ECZ as fair, do not appoint the two individuals….If any country does not trade carefully on the issue of electoral bodies, democracy is bound to fail,” Chishimba Kambwili openly warned president HH in November, 2022.

The list of stakeholders opposing and denouncing McDonald Chipenzi and Mrs Mwangala Zaloumis at ECZ is endless and cannot be covered in one article as this one. Apart from HH and UPND members, Zambians from all walks of life are against their presence at ECZ. This fact is known by everyone.

Just ask key political party leaders outside UPND such as Edith Nawakwi, Fred M’membe, GBM, Bowman Lusambo, Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa, Saboi Imboela, Harry Kalaba, Jackson Silavwe, Sean Tembo, Mweenda Kasonde, Chishala Kateka, Chilufya Tayali, Raphael Nakachinda, etc: they all don’t want to hear these two names around ECZ as they deem them politically poisonous and sure evils to Zambia’s democracy.

2. Our critical analysis and observations to Chipenzi and Zaloumis at ECZ

For most Zambians, having Mr. McDonald Chipenzi and Madam Mwangala Zaloumis as top commissioners at ECZ is not only strange, unprofessional, unethical politically and dangerous, but that their presence brutally undermines the integrity, credibility, objectivity and neutrality of such a crucial body entrusted to administer elections in our country.

With the two ruling party members being anointed as top commissioners at Zambia’s electoral body, ECZ will remain a political collaborator of the UPND and the chances of witnessing credible, fair and transparent elections in our country will never be guaranteed in 2026 and beyond.

Everything about Zaloumis and Chipenzi at ECZ is true with Father Mwewa’s views, a Copperbelt-based Catholic Priest who in December, 2022 stressed and warned that “appointing politically inclined commissioners to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) appears like a scheme to rig future elections”.

In 2026 and as long as Mwangala Zaloumis and McDonald Chipenzi remain at the top of ECZ, Zambians must know that the two will make the announcement of HH’s defeat impossible if he loses because they are members of the ruling party and Bally is not just their appointing boss but also their preferred presidential candidate on UPND ticket.

In this press statement on 28th November, 2022, Mr. Nasson Msoni observed that “No one believes that having persons with declared political interest and sitting in the Commission will give the institution the degree of the legitimacy required to conduct and oversee free and fair elections. In a nutshell it is not too late for the President to reflect on his choice of the appointments and do the right thing”, he argued.

Yes, if Zambia is to prepare for free, fair and credible elections in 2026, the president has no choice but to revise and reverse the composition of ECZ at commission level by boldly removing and replacing politically inclined individuals like McDonald Chipenzi and Mwangala Zaloumis.

If we accept known UPND members at ECZ today, we should accept the fact that 2026 presidential elections will not be free, fair and credible in Zambia because, there is no way party cadres will disappoint their ruling party, their appointing boss, their presidential candidate and their political appeasement jobs.

3. What else makes Chipenzi and Zaloumis unfit to be top ECZ Commissioners?

When it comes to Madam Mwangala Zaloumis, l do not need to research and write anything much about her membership and affiliation to the ruling party. I have just attached nice pictures for her in full party regalia on different party events👇🏽👇🏽: things speak for themselves for HH’s Chairperson for our ECZ🤦🏻‍♂️

On 12th August 2015, Charles Sakala reported on ‘All Africa News’ that the Grand Coalition on the People Driven Constitution ‘secretly’ removed Macdonald Chipenzi from his position as spokesperson because of his association with the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), a matter that threatened to tarnish the image of the strictly non-partisan group.

On 10th February, 2016, Lusaka Times reported that Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Executive Director then, MacDonald Chipenzi was challenged to step down from his position following reports that he had applied to contest Siavonga parliamentary seat under the UPND. This was confirmed by PF Mandevu Constituency Chairman Joseph Tamba then who revealed that Chipenzi had applied to contest the seat on UPND ticket.

The truth is that, this McDonald Chipenzi consistently opposed and mounted unwarranted attacks on Sata, Lungu and the PF government throughout his civil society life both at FODEP and GEARS simply because he was both a zealot opposition party sympathizer and at some point top most preferred candidate for Siavonga constituency on UPND ticket.

4. Our partisan ECZ, our diminishing hope for true Democracy and peace

For the first time in the history of this institution, ECZ has had the most controversial and questionable conducts and actions since August 2021. This is because the impact of partisan politics is at its peak and highest levels at ECZ today.

What happened to PF’s Hon Joseph Malanji and Hon Bowman Lusambo in 2022 is a savagery and unpleasant attack to our democracy and ECZ was the lead hangman for the ruling party. This remains clear evidence and classical example that ECZ is no longer our hope for democracy, peace and national unity as a country especially with known party cadres like Zaloumis and Chipenzi as its bosses.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia is established under Article 229 of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016. The Commission came into existence as an Electoral Management Body (EMB) in 1996.

In accordance with Article 229 (2) of the Constitution of Zambia, the Commission has the mandate to carry out the following functions:

1. implement the electoral process;
2. conduct elections and referenda;
3. register voters;
4. settle minor electoral disputes, as prescribed;
5. regulate the conduct of voters and candidates;
6. accredit observers and election agents, as prescribed;
7. delimit electoral boundaries; and
8. perform such other functions as prescribed

Dr Chris ZUMANI Zimba is a Political Scientist, Researcher, Author & Consultant specialized in Comparative Global Governance and Democratic Theories. He holds a PhD, MA, BA and Cert in Political Science. Zimba was President Lungu’s Political Advisor from December 2019 to August 2021.

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