Former FODEP Executive Director McDonald Chipenzi has called on President Edgar Lungu to immediately disband the Commission of Inquiry on Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence as its mandate has expired.
Mr Chipenzi explained that according to the Statutory Instrument No. 72 of 2016 that birthed the Commission of Inquiry late last year, its lifespan was for 120 days which have since expired.
He said the Commission was expected to complete its work within 120 days and handover the report to the President.
“It will be illegal and against the dictates of the Statutory Instrument for the Commission of Inquiry and its commissioners to exist beyond the stipulated timeframe in the Instrument.
“President Lungu is therefore challenged to tell the nation whether he has issued another Statutory Instrument to extend the life of the Commission of Inquiry and at what cost to the country.
“On what basis would the Inquiry exist beyond its lifespan and how credible would its work be which would be done after the expiry of its mandated?”
He added that the f credibility of findings and the entire report would be rendered illegal, questionable and an academic exercise in the public court.
“It is clear that the Inquiry has lamentably failed to attract enough witnesses as it is fact that people have resisted to be wooed to support a Commission of Inquiry bent at violating their constitutional right to vote, associate and the right to a secret of the vote.
“It is, therefore, reasonable that the money being spent on the 15 commissioners who are currently gallivanting around the country and spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money on lodging in expensive hotels and fuel be channeled to needy areas such as uplifting the lives of persons with disability and also stocking hospitals and health centres with necessary drugs and essentials,” he said.
Further, Mr Chipenzi advised President Lungu to learn from his Malawian counterpart who only appointed a 3 member Commission of Inquiry on the maize-gate scandal involving Zambia and his country.
He said the Malawian president gave the committee less days than ours to finish its work and submit its report which it has since done and the the President has acted upon it based on its recommendations.
He lamented that a 15 member commission of inquiry which was given 120 days has failed to conclude its work on time and wondered where the efficiency and prudence in the utilization of the country’s meagre financial resources was.