There are strong indications that president Michael Sata and his government have brought back the Nikuv method of rigging elections and that it was used in Mufumbwe and other local government elections last week.
What has been established so far is that president Sata has brought back the OP officers who worked on the Nikuv rigging formulae in 1996. These OP guys were fired by Levy Mwanawasa when he took over from Chiliuba.
The resurrected OP officers are working together with Xavier Chungu, the former OP boss whom Sata wanted to appoint as PS for Luapula province. Sata and Chungu are buddies. They go a long way.
In 1996, all the major opposition political parties then led by UNIP boycotted the presidential elections due to suspicions of intentions by the MMD under Fredrick Chiluba and Michael Sata as minister without portfolio. One of the outstanding accusation by UNIP was that the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) used tricks by double printing voters cards to enable MMD party members vote twice.
The MMD of Chiluba and Sata hired an Israel company that specializes in identification, electoral and government systems- Nikuv.
Michael Sata became MMD National Secretary in 1995 and in 1996 he was appointed Minister without Portfolio, often seen as the Number three position in the country’s political hierarchy. He held these positions until 2001, when he differed with President Chiluba for selecting Levy Mwanawasa instead of Sata as successor. So when the Nikuv project was being implemented, Sata was the chief executive of MMD and number three in government.
Nikuv was hired to prepare the voter registers roll in 1995, prior to the 1996 parliamentary and presidential elections.
Note that Nikuv is the same company that was hired to prepare voters rolls for the last elections in Zimbabwe and Lesotho.
These rolls were rejected by Zambia’s opposition, because preliminary checks revealed anomalies such as people being placed in wrong polling stations, incorrect names and in some cases, people who had registered to vote were simply omitted in the final registers.
While in the past voters were issued with voters cards on registration, under the new system voters had to collect cards at a later date. The registration exercise failed to capture a large number of eligible voters. Out of about 4.5 million eligible voters, only 2.3 million registered. In a number of cases, voters were registered under wrong polling stations and as a result, were unable to find their names in the registers on polling day. A more serious problem to emerge was the large number of cases of people who had the same national registration numbers.
But Chiluba and Sata were determined to go ahead and had not time to listen to anyone, just like today. They are in power and were voted by the majority, so they say.
Dean Mungo’mba and Roger Chongwe took the government to court to stop it from using the Nikuv prepared voter registers.
High Court Judge Dennis Chirwa ruled that the Nikuv registers were faulty and ordered the government to find an alternative voters’ roll to conduct the elections.
The government appealed to the Supreme Court where the decision was reversed by Chief Justice Matthew Ngulube who said while the Court appreciated the fact that the Nikuv voters rolls had errors, the Supreme Court could not uphold the High Court’s decision, because finding an alternative would cost the government too much money.
It was at this point that the major United National Independence Party (UNIP), led by Kenneth Kaunda, decided to boycott the elections and was joined by 12 other opposition parties.
It was worth noting that the faulty register was not the only measure Chiluba and Sata put in place to frustrate the opposition. They also changed the law to prevent KK and his vice Chief Inyambo Yeta from contesting.
To take care of KK who stood a big chance of bouncing back in power, Chiluba and Sata introduced a law that not only should a presidential candidate be a Zambian but that his/her parents must also be Zambians by birth or descent.
Kaunda and his parents came from Malawi.
To make sure UNIP vice-vice president Chief Inyambo Yeta was also prevented from standing; chiefs were required to give up their chieftaincy if they wished to contest elections.
Thus the Nikuv project worked very well for Chiluba and Sata.
This time, the Watchdog has been briefed that that Nikuv system is back. Sources say it was used in the Mufumbwe parliamentary and the 14 local government elections last week to test it.
The formulae will also be used in the next bye-elections once the MMD MPs working for Sata resign.
Without massive rigging, the PF has no capacity to win elections especially in areas like Mufumbwe and Luena where they just did.
Last week’ elections had to be won at all cost as a psychological tool on the general populace.
As an opposition leader, Mr. Sata seems to be aware of the various rigging schemes governments use to the point where he urged his supporters never to use the Electoral Commission of Zambia (EZC) pens provided in the booth but carry their own pens.
In his scepticism, Sata told his supporters that once they use the ECZ pens, the marks on the ballot papers would after some time be given to his opponent, Rupiah Banda.
The simple question to be asked is what is it that the PF has done for them to be voted by a margin of three thousand in Mufumbwe? What reason is there for the people of Luena to vote for PF when from the time the PF came into power, it has been showing nothing but scorn for the people of that region?
Why should people of Rufunsa vote for the PF when there is no clean water in the area and farmers have not been paid for the sweat?
Was it not the same PF which lost three parliamentary bye-elections just after winning the general elections? Suddenly the PF is popular all over the country?
Still on the Nikuv project, it was the Nikuv team that managed the last elections in Zimbabwe which the whole world knows were a natural disaster.
Nikuv was also involved in the Lesotho disaster a few months ago. See this: http://www.lestimes.com/?p=8654
It is not for nothing that President Michael Sata is boasting of taking urgent and practical measures to protect MMD MPs. He knows what he has put in place