Expect no free and fair elections under the new dawn administration in August 2026- Aaron Ng’ambi

Aaron Ng’ambi

Expect no free and fair elections under the new dawn administration in August 2026

By Aaron Ng’ambi(The Mast)

The Bembas have a phrase which says that “Icikwanka bacimona kumampalanya”, which simply means; in life you can tell those with good intentions or not, through their small honest acts of kindness or otherwise.

It is no longer a matter of dispute that the new dawn government has been notorious in practicing electoral malpractices in broad daylight without shame. This is by far beyond any form of resemblance of what awaits the nation during the August elections of 2026.

To begin with, President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) has compromised the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) by removing professionals at the helm of that institution – while replacing them with cadres of the United Party for National Development (UPND). The examples are too many to mention, but the list begins with the chairperson herself madam Mwangala Zaloumis, and then trickles down to commissioners such as McDonald Chipenzi etc. Just when we had thought that the previous regime was terrible at running public institutions, little did we know that the new dawn administration would be worse off. Because this is not only happening at ECZ, but across many public institutions where cadres have replaced professionals, sometimes even on tribal lines with impunity. This is not good for development, and definitely not good for a democracy. More often than not, institutions of governance in a thriving democracy largely depend on retention of qualified and credible individuals for the sake of continuity and for institutional memory. However, this is not the case for this government, and particularly the ECZ story makes a sad reading.

Therefore, in 2026 Zambians should expect no free, fair, and credible elections under the watch of these party cadres, who have been appointed to oversee our elections. In fact, the failures of this gang or group of cadres at ECZ have already been exposed and seen in many places where elections have been conducted at ward by-elections or even elections of deputy mayors in respective councils. All these elections have witnessed the manipulations of the process by the powers that be, and they have made no apologies for it. Recently, the Commission even cancelled the tender for the printing and delivery of ballot papers, blind voter templates, and announcement forms. This cancellation has led to massive speculations that the ECZ wants to single source for this tender, against laid down procedure. Also, we have witnessed that since the early days of taking office, the UPND have done everything they can to create unnecessary by-elections and then even gone further to play unfair in those elections. This is dangerous because the ruling party is so desperate to perpetuate this imaginary impression of being popular on the ground regardless of the economic hardships facing the people under their watch.

To talk about this subject, without referring to the original sins of the new dawn administration in Kabushi and Kwacha would be a grave mistake. For any objective and well-meaning Zambian, it is an open secret that the UPND stole the Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary seats from the Patriotic Front (PF) without any form of justification. Those with a good memory will recall that even the Head of State, President HH was embarrassed during the process as he went to campaign in the two by-elections whose fate was still in the Constitutional Court. That dark cloud of “mingalato” will forever hang over the UPND up until the next elections – the people have not forgotten and will not forget what happened in Kabushi and Kwacha respectively. And as if it wasn’t enough to steal parliamentary seats in broad daylight.

The new dawn administration has continued to engage in electoral malpractices, and the recent cases of elections in Kabwe, Kitwe, and Ndola for deputy mayoral position cannot be overlooked. This government would go an extent of sinking so low by detaining the Ndola mayor just to prevent him from participating in the election of his deputy. The fact of the matter is that this mayor of Ndola, is a PF member and everyone knows that he would have voted for his preferred candidate from PF to deputise him. Unfortunately for him and the PF, the ruling party did not want a PF deputy mayor in Ndola – so they had to detain the city mayor during the voting hours, and later released the man without any charge. Undoubtedly, to use the police service in such a manner exhibits the extent to which this government will go to compromise and weaken state institutions, just to win an election. Moreover, Ndola was not the only place where the ruling party used the police in such a shameful manner. In fact, it is widely reported that the same ploy was used in Kitwe where a PF councilor was detained so that he could not vote for a PF candidate to be deputy mayor of the city. And in both cases, the UPND carried the day by one vote to produce deputy mayors in Ndola and Kitwe respectively.

This is absurd and cannot be tolerated by any well-meaning Zambian, because paying a blind eye to these injustices will have two specific consequences. First and foremost, it will create a precedent, which will be terrible for our people and the future generations. We cannot afford to normalise wrongs as a country, and certainly not as a Christian nation. Secondly, these same tactics almost caused a mini riot in Kabwe as the new dawn government attempted to steal the deputy mayoral seat in that beautiful town of Central Province. Therefore, if not done away with, these electoral malpractices of the UPND have great potential to set our country on fire. Evidently, as we approach the August 2026 elections, the regime at Community House will get more and more desperate and only God knows, what else they will be capable of doing just to hold on to power.

Since taking over government, almost three years now – the UPND through the police service have not allowed, not even one rally to be held by the opposition. This is a clear sign that someone somewhere is terrified of the unknown. Also, this attempt by the ruling party to regulate social media broadcasts through the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) is nothing but another cowardly outfit by a regime that knows it’s become unpopular. Actually, its unthinkable that less than two years and nine months ago, President HH was on top of a hill telling everyone that on day one as President he was going to repeal and do away with the Cyber Security Act immediately because this law was an infringement on the rights of expression for all citizens. This man has kept that same law because it now serves his interests, and sadly he now wants to go further to gag citizens on social media by amending the IBA Act. This is betrayal of the promises made as an opposition leader, and furthermore an act of dishonesty to say the least.

In a nutshell, we can safely deduce that based on these factual observations, no person in their right mind frame can argue that the 2026 elections promise to be free, fair, and credible if this regime and the President himself do not have a serious change of attitude.

The author is a political scientist with keen interest in domestic and global issues. Email: aaronngambi@yahoo.com


  1. This scenario cannot be put any better than you have highlighted and alerted the Zambian people but the goodness that their resolve is always clear and it defeats any evil plans, it is just a matter of time

    • Mumba C Mwambe you must be a PF fool bwana. This idiot is just yapping nonsense and failed to mention the non existent Chitulika Constituency results announced by PF aligned Esau Chulu.

  2. “A titan among mortals analysis “
    of the failure of the Zambian state. The governance of Zambia is in the hands of destructive forces!
    Time has come for all inhabitants of the former Northern Rhodesia,regardless of party,tribe or religion, to save the people. The alternative is to seek a UN mandate to sort out the country from HH et al.

  3. There is what is called pre-emption. To pre-empt is based on what has happened you predict the outcome. What the author is aiming at is: knowing that the recruitment’s that have happened and those yet to happen, the impact of the CDF, the restoration of the student allowances, the introduction of free education and their ripple effects will sway in favour of HH and the UPND so much that the opposition will struggle to get meaningful gains. So the only way try to minimise that influence is to to try to attack the credibility electoral system, before it happens! We know that kind of psychological strategy!

    • HH has already UPNDinised the ECZ,the Gestapo and the courts. With a de facto ban of opposition rallies in place,and the Kabushi/Kwacha modus operandi in place, what more can the HaUPND ask for? It’s hi ho! for you lot!


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