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Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia
KWACHA GOOD MORNING ZAMBIA, KITWE STUDIOS
INTERVIEW WITH MS. MARGARET CHIMANSE
ECZ PUBLIC RELATIONS MANAGER
February 17, 2019

1. Political violence is rapidly growing in Zambia what do you think is fuelling this trend?

The political environment is ever evolving and it should be recognized that competing interests amongst political parties is also on an increase. The Commission during (by) - elections engages political parties and equips them with information regarding the 'rules of engagement’ (Code of Conduct). In addition, campaign programmes are drawn in the presence of the Zambia Police and the Commission in order for the Police to plan the policing of campaigns and the elections. Further, the joint consolidation of the campaign programmes is to ensure that political parties systematically campaign without disrupting other party campaigns in addition to averting potential clashes. However, the current pattern of ferrying cadres from districts outside a by-election area especially where the residents in a particular are peaceful has contributed to acts of violence. These acts, also potentially mean that the Police need to increase presence in the respective election area and in turn has a negative impact on voter turnout.

2.Could it be a calculated strategy to gain mileage by perpetrators?

It is important to realize that the electoral process is canvassed by various stakeholders including political parties, media, civil society, the Church, traditional leaders, the Police, the public itself, of course ourselves as the Commission and many other additional players. Each stakeholder has a different role to play which collectively culminates into implementing an electoral process that is acceptable by all and meets expectations in a holistic manner. Therefore, taking responsibility of actions pertaining to the respective stakeholders is key and it is encouraged that high importance is attached to this aspect.

3.The just ended Sesheke by-election campaign was characterised by violence why didn't the ECZ suspend campaigns like it did in Lusaka for a number of days like it did in 2016?

Campaigns are designed to promote political ideas, policies and strategies. Promoting these elements may be seemingly difficult to do where a campaign becomes tainted in view of acts that are not acceptable to the electorate. Political parties need to begin to respect laws that exist that they were party to but also exhibit levels of maturity in the field of competition. The Commission would be further encouraged with having political parties that demonstrate the ability to regulate their actions, especially undesirable ones. Where political parties leave their unacceptable actions to be observed by the Commission and other players in the electoral environment, without showing leadership it almost becomes a negation of fostering due process of any matter. Political parties are therefore reminded that the Zambian people are the 'majority shareholder 'of the electoral process and in turn their living environment should be respected in view of building confidence in the messages that political parties disseminate.

4.Are there enough laws to address political violence? Can a party be disqualified for not respecting electoral laws? Has it been done before? When and where? Why not?

Laws are created by people and as Zambia's democratic dispensation grows the Commission encourages hearing from stakeholders and receiving proposals on areas that require strengthening. In addition, the country has embarked on various legislative reforms which include, consultations on the Public Order Act, drafting of a Political Parties Bill amongst others. It should be re-emphasised that the electoral space comprises various other stakeholders apart from the Commission itself.

5.Since violence has a bearing on free and fair elections can we say Zambia is conducting free and fair elections?

One of the Commission's core values in the 2018 to 2022 Strategic Plan is transparency i.e. openness. The Commission continues to publicize by-election timetables including the nomination period and those who are validly nominated based on meeting the requirement criteria that exists. Therefore, every political party that comes forward to contest is given equal opportunity. Furthermore, the Commission disseminates voter education information to the electorate ensuring that the citizenry in the respective area are aware that a by-election will be taking place including critical information such as opening and closing time of the poll as well as the results management procedure. Zambians are free to make choices of their candidates or parties, while political parties sell their messages through campaigns to wide audiences.

6.What measures are you putting in place to arrest political violence knowing that the country will go to the polls in 2021, or indeed any unforeseen by elections before that period?

As a country, the Political Parties Bill that underwent extensive consultation in 2017 is hoped that once enacted may also provide for managing the electoral space in a progressive manner. The Commission has various engagement platforms, including with traditional leaders. Therefore, currently the onus is on all of us to collaborate effectively and hold the various stakeholders accountable. In turn, there should be realisation that acts of violence can eventually result into a shrinking democratic space. These are matters that should be at the fore prior to taking certain actions whether by political parties or other stakeholders.
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia
PRESS RELEASE
13th February, 2019

RESULTS FOR SESHEKE PARLIAMENTARY AND SEVEN (7) LOCAL GOVERNMENT BY ELECTIONS

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN That the following were the results arising from the Sesheke Parliamentary and Local Government By Elections in SEVEN (7) Council Wards which took place on Tuesday 12th February, 2019.

Click here for Downloadable Pdf: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19nFzOyajbHJFzbC5TMYK4bT3zD52AMzQ/view?usp=sharing

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The Commission has recognised that young voters who are currently 16 years of age will be eligible to vote in 2021 and would adopt educative and voting strategies to guarantee their participation. #ECZ #Youth

Judge Chulu urged #youths to participate in the electoral process in order to realise the “link between democracy, development,elections and human rights,” adding that this would deter youth involvement in crime as well as provide for a constructive and orderly young people #ECZ

Speech By Mrs. Jean Mensa, Chairperson Of The Electoral Commission Of Ghana, Delivered At The 17th International Electoral Affairs Symposium: https://t.co/uFWtLX5onR

Find Out More About The Electoral Commission Of Zambia

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Library

View and download resource materials developed by the Commission.

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Legal

An electoral system is a set of rules on how votes are converted into seats for political or civic authority. 
The purpose of an electoral system is to translate the will of the people to decide on who should be President, Members of Parliament, Mayors/Council Chairpersons and Councillors. 
The Electoral System in Zambia is twofold; majoritarian and simple majority or first past the post. 

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Establishment

The Commission is an independent and autonomous Electoral Management Body (EMB) established in 1996. Since its establishment, the Commission has delivered five (5) General Elections (in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016), two (2) Presidential Elections (in 2008 and 2015) and several National Assembly and Local Government by-elections. 

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Voter

Voters are persons eligible to vote in an election. The role of voters is to choose representatives by casting ballots in an election. Voters should be Zambian citizens, aged 18 and above, in possession of a green National Registration Card and a Voter’s Card. In order to vote, they must be registered in the polling station appearing on their Voters’ Card. They must also appear in the Register of Voters for that particular polling station.

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Candidate

Candidates seek political power by participating in elections and campaigning for support from voters. Political parties and candidates are expected to adhere to all the electoral procedures and laws, including the Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC) which they should subscribe to through the Declaration of Compliance to the Electoral Code of Conduct. 

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Election Officials

The role of monitors and observers is to gather, examine and evaluate information relating to the electoral process. During an electoral activity, a monitor plays an active role by intervening and bringing to the attention of the Presiding Officer, Returning Officer or any senior electoral official matters of concern that may arise.  Observers play a passive role and are concerned with making an informed judgment on the credibility, legitimacy and transparency of the electoral process. An observer/monitor may inform the Commission in writing of any observed electoral malpractices.