In a bizarre statement made yesterday in Ndola, the United Nations representative Janet Rogan praised the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as credible and outstanding. Coming at a time when the ECZ’s independent judgement has been completely compromised and is now facilitating Edgar Lungu’s rigging strategy for him, Rogan’s comments must be seen at best as naive, and at worst her consent for rigging the election.
It is the ECZ who have employed the services of the crooked firm Al Ghurair to produce the ballot papers, despite appeals by all opposition parties, Ren-Form CC and the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA). They have also selected two Kenyan consultants, Ben Chege and Dismas Ongondi, who was fired by the Kenyan Electoral Commission for “gross incompetence”, to be official inspectors of the elections. Under Lungu’s new laws, ECZ officials are now immune from prosecution if they were discovered carrying out corrupt practice, and those who resist such practices can now be fired by Lungu without question. Indeed, many of the ECZ commissioners themselves have been appointed by Lungu himself as his friends and allies. Furthermore, there are up to 500,000 Malawians and Congolese illegally registered to vote under ECZ records to rig the election in PF’s favour on August 11th. The extent of Lungu’s rigging strategy with the ECZ, as outlined in the leaked “Operation 777” document, marks unprecedented abuse of all Zambian’s constitutional rights, their political freedom, and Zambia’s 25-year-old democratic status.
In light of these events, Rogan made this puzzling statement yesterday: “Let me take this opportunity to say that Zambia has got an extremely good elections body which has delivered good elections over the years. It suffices to say that ECZ is one elections body that people from the region come to learn from.”
Rogan’s comments yesterday were not only ridiculous and irresponsible, they were tantamount to legitimising Lungu’s ongoing oppression of the opposition, relentless voter intimidation and his Plan 777 for rigging the vote involving the ECZ. However, Janet Rogan would prefer the world to think she is doing her job, ensuring that the Zambian election is peaceful, fair and democratic.
Perhaps Ms. Rogan is simply trying to defend her reputation in diplomatic spheres, but either way, to cover up the political abuses of Lungu and the ruling PF and to publicly dismiss this election process as peaceful and democratic given the mountain of incriminating evidence is a disservice to both the Zambian people and the international community. If Zambian people do not vote them out, then the PF will steal this election through illegal rigging. If this does happen, Ms Rogan and those corrupted by Lungu will be personally responsible for the continued suffering of Zambian people and the chaos that will ensue following a disputed result.