By John Chimunhu|
Austin Liabunya, the Malawian ‘prophet’ who predicted a win for opposition candidate Hakainde Hichilema in last week’s Zambian election, says the vote was hopelessly rigged in favour of Edgar Lungu, who was hurriedly sworn in as president on Sunday.
Dismissing potent allegations that he had made a false prophecy, Liabunya said he stood by what he had said earlier. He said God had shown him grim developments for Zambia, which he would not state publicly, as a result of Lungu’s rigging. He predicted ‘darkness’ – even early death – for Lungu as punishment from God for stealing the vote.
Liabunya said God still wanted Hichilema (52) to lead the country, but this called for a lot of vigilance and prayer before and during the next election, scheduled for 2016.
“I saw the issue of his (Hichilema’s) votes being stolen and the results delaying to come out. I knew something was wrong,” Liabunya said.
He said, however, that his efforts to warn Hichilema about the impending electoral theft were frustrated by the candidate’s aides, who blocked him from speaking to him until it was too late. However, Hichilema eventually contacted him, he said.
“I want to make it clear that the concerned candidate communicated with me after discovering that what I said about his votes being stolen and delays had started being fulfilled and by this time people had already voted. If he had done this (contacting him early) efforts to steal his votes would not be possible,” Liabunya said.
However, the controversial leader of Winning Life Ministries said God would provide a solution.
“And (at) the time I was communicated (with) all I said was, ‘it shall be well’ because whenever I prayed, I saw no future for the leading candidate (Lungu). All I saw was darkness. And I heard a voice saying the throne belongs to the one who received the prophecy (Hichilema). And it is the same Word I hear up to now and I can tell you that it’s for a short time but Mr HH (Hichilema) has to be clever with God this time around,” Liabunya said. “Remember it’s not over until God says its over. I am also kindly asking the republic of Zambia to pray for their President because there is something that happened. I heard they carried a coffin which I had already seen in my vision. But I pray that this will not happen.”
In a statement at the weekend, headed “Edgar Lungu Steals Election”, Hichilema detailed how he had been robbed of victory. He called for a new democratic constitution and a new independent electoral commission before the next elections.
“Ultimately, this election has been a sham and does not reflect the will of the majority of Zambians,” Hichilema said, adding that Lungu, the former defence minister, was an “illegitimate president”.
Official results saw Lungu getting 48.3 percent of the vote that was marred by poor turnout (32% ), the lowest since 1973 when Zambia was a one-party state under Kenneth Kaunda. Hichilema polled 46.7 percent, according to official figures from the Zambia Electoral Commission, which was accused of bias. Hichilema’s United Party for National Development and independent observers said the poll results were doctored with the help of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Angry Zambians demonstrated against Mugabe’s presence in Lusaka at the weekend.
The United States government was also accused of complicity in the rigging after it declared the election free and fair even before voting ended and the controversial results were announced. But a later statement by State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki acknowledged the simmering tensions and called for an amicable resolution, using the “democratic tradition”.
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