30 August 2008
EBC petitioned yet again
By Bheki Gama
Candidates for the national elections at Nkilongo petitioned the Prince Gija-led Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC), complaining about a certain individual who was contesting for the Member of Parliament, who disturbed the voting process last weekend.
The candidates want the EBC to declare the elections at Nkilongo polling station and the results thereof null and void as per Section 63, 64 and 65 of the Elections Order.
Reasons being that there were less than half the number of eligible voters who turned up due to threats allegedly coming from Lunkundu candidate, James Masike Gulwako.
Lunkundu is a community on the eastern side of Big Bend. They allege that Gulwako bribed and forced harvesters (employees) to stay away from the polls, mentioning that some had already testified to that effect. Gulwako also allegedly tried to turn back a truck ferrying voters but was stopped by a police officer on his tracks. “As far as we are concerned this is conclusive evidence against the defaulting candidate,” they said. The petition says the complainants then approached the Returning Officer for advice after realising that the process was not free and fair. They allege that there was some money exchanged between Gulwako and a certain officer at the polling station, which they believe influenced the outcome.
They said the individual wanted Illovo Sugar Company workers not to cast their vote on the announced dates at Mayaluka. This they said, was because he feared the workers would vote for a rival who was their colleague. They said the move was able to influence about 500 voters not to vote last week at Mayaluka polling station, which they said cost the station about half the number of registered voters. The candidates said this had a negative impact and compromised the chances of one of the candidates who had a following amongst employees. They said if workers had voted in their numbers their colleague could have been the obvious winner. “The candidates lost out to a socialite who is also suspected to have tampered with the voting process,” they claim.
The petition states that they were informed that the accused was already calling friends telling them that he had already won long before the voting process was over. They also claim there was a corrupt relationship between the accused and an officer at the poling station. The candidates want the EBC to investigate the above and take appropriate action against the alleged culprit.