Vote buying scam exposed


A SCAM involving some opposition political party members and other people masquerading as Patriotic Front (PF) officials and Government workers has been unearthed in which they are giving out loans to unsuspecting clergymen and marketeers after obtaining details of their national registration cards (NRCs).
The details are meant to be used as evidence of vote-buying should PF retain power in August.
It has also been revealed that the scheme is aimed at creating an impression by this opposition party that the Government is stealing from Zambians by selling the registration forms at K100, but fails to give the empowerment funds to applicants and that it would use their names to rig the August 11 general elections.
Scores of clergymen and marketeers in Lusaka have already been swindled out of their hard-earned money after purchasing the forms for the collateral-free funds in categories of K3,000, K5,000 and K10,000.
Ebenezer Mission Church of All Nations Pastor-in-Charge Julius Chola of Lusaka’s Chelstone Township and Avondale Community Church deputy Pastor Philemon Ngwira confirmed the scam in separate interviews yesterday.
Pastor Chola, who is also the branch chairperson of Chelston Big Market, disclosed that scores of marketeers had been swindled by unscrupulous persons claiming to be working for the Government.
He said the loan scheme was a hoax designed to create a wrong impression that the Government was stealing from its people by collecting K100 for registration forms while failing to give out the funds.
“This group claiming to work for Government is targeting marketeers and is on a campaign that Government is giving collateral-free loans to anybody buying registration forms as long as they give details of their NRCs and voters’ cards,” Pastor Chola said.
He said because of the requirement that there was no need for collateral except for giving details of NRCs and voters’ cards, many marketeers and Church members had bought the registration forms.
The clergymen, who refused to work with the group after turning down an offer, said the loan scheme could have been designed to embarrass the Government that it had failed to empower its people.
And Pastor Ngwira, who was also approached by the group, was asked to convince his Church members to apply for the loans after submitting details of their NRCs.
He was disappointed with the group’s behaviour, which could be using the scheme to also create an impression that the ruling PF would use names of the loan applicants to allegedly rig the elections.
This opposition party hopes to produce the same names and their NRCs as evidence of vote-buying by the PF in an event that PF wins the elections and it petitions the results.
Pastor Ngwira urged the police and other law-enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate and bring the culprits to book for swindling people and masquerading as workers of the Government.