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Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia Commissioner Justice Christopher Mushabati officially opening the Youth Conference at Kafue Estates Hall in Kafue District on Saturday, 16th March, 2019.

The Youth Conference, which was attended by participants from various political parties, Civil Society Organisations and the Church was held ahead of the Council Chairperson's By-election scheduled for 27th March, 2019.
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Electoral Commission of Zambia
SPEECH BY ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA VICE CHAIRPERSON MRS. ANNETTE NHEKAIRO DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE YOUTH CONFERENCE HELD ON SATURDAY 16th MARCH 2019 IN MANSA DISTRICT AT MANSA TEACHERS TRAINING COLLEGE.

Electoral Commission of Zambia Staff
Mansa Town Council Staff
Political Youth Leaders
Invited Guests
Participants
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly, I wish to thank the Mansa Municipal Council for their effort in helping to mobilise participants for this Youth Conference, who have been drawn from various Political Parties, Civil Society and the Church in Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward. You the youth are an important category of a population of any country because they make up a pool of people who are to occupy leadership positions in future for the social, political and economic development.

This youth Conference is being held in view of the Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward by-elections to be held on 11th April, 2019.

You the youth in Zambia make up more than the majority of the registered voters on our current register of voters, which has over six million (6.69 million people). As such, you are relevant to the conduct of successful elections.

Free elections at periodical intervals are particularly important because their principal function is to legitimize public authority and officials with a mandate for specific actions. Election campaigns also serve many functions such as clarifying issues and policies, holding candidates to account, communicating information among candidates and voters, and officering choices about solutions to community problems and the general public.

Elections are also a critical means of promoting public accountability. Accountability involves not just that ability of voters to vote out of office elected officials who have not performed well in the management of public affairs, but it also includes the opportunity for elected officials to give an account of their performance.

Within civilised societies, the existence of a Democratic political system is usually identified with effective legal provisions of machinery for free elections. A general election can properly be said to be Democratic, free and fair if it largely or wholly satisfies the following namely:

i. If substantially the entire adult population has the right to vote for candidates for office,
ii. If elections take place regularly and within prescribed time limits,
iii. If no substantial group in the adult population is denied the opportunity of forming a party and putting up candidates,
iv. If the seats in the major legislative chamber can be contested and usually are,
v. If votes are cast freely and secretly, they are counted and reported honestly and those who win are installed in office until their term expires. This does not mean however, that they cannot be removed if they fail to perform,
vi. If Campaigns are conducted with reasonable fairness i.e., neither law, violence, nor intimidations bar them.

The Commission realises the enthusiasm displayed by the youth during the last General Elections held on 11 August, 2016. I am also aware that your attendance of this conference is an indication that you wish to learn and acquire more knowledge about our electoral process. I am therefore happy that this platform will enable the young people to acquire the much needed information. You will also be free to air your views and ask questions on various electoral issues that may affect you.

The Commission as I said above was impressed by the youth voter turnout during the 2016 General Elections. It is therefore, the Commission’s hope that the Young Voters in the Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward Constituency will still show the same zeal thy displayed during the last General Elections by turning up in large numbers to vote for the Candidate of their choice.

Several questions have been raised on the electoral process by young people. I hope that this conference will be able to clear some of the questions.

The Commission would like to raise a pool of knowledgeable and enthusiastic young people who can speak to other young people about the operations of the Commission and the electoral process. In general and more significantly about violence, hate speech, insults and intimidation.

Voting is your right and one of the ways in which you can contribute to decision making in our country.

I wish to make a special appeal to you all. There has been a sad tendency by our political players to use you the youth as tools of violence. Violence is not part of a democratic dispensation. Democracy entails differences of opinion and this must not be used as a reason for violence. In a democracy, divergence of opinion is respected. I want to appeal to all of you gathered here today to exercise maximum restraint to acts of violence and behaviours, which are likely to lead to anarchy in the country.

You must resist being used as perpetrators of violence but instead, you, as leaders of tomorrow must be in the fore-front of fostering unity and development in our beloved country. I therefore urge those of you who are registered as voters in Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward to ensure that you turn up in large number during the forth-coming Parliamentary by-election. On violence, I wish to alert the participating players i.e. candidates and political parties that the Commission has now been given some teeth to bite with.

Observance of the Electoral Code of Conduct is very cardinal because breach of it may lead to the disqualification of a political party or candidate. This power is enshrined in Section 110 of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016. This Section reads as follows:-

“(1) The Commission shall enforce the Code of Conduct specified in the schedule.
(2) The Commission may disqualify a political party or candidate in breach of the Code. ”
The common breaches of the Code, among other, are clearly spelt out under Rule (4) (2) of the Code.
Sub-rule 2 (quoting the relevant provision reads:-
(2) a member or supporter of a political party or candidate shall not –
(a) use language which incites hatred or violence in any form against any person;
(b) issue any pamphlet, newspaper, poster or other propaganda which contains materials that incite people to violence or rebellion;
(c) deface, remove or destroy campaign materials of another political party or publications of the Commission;
(d) disrupt another political party’s rally, meeting, march or demonstration or seek to obstruct another person from attending a political rally of another political party.

It is my sincere hope that all the parties concerned will strictly adhere to these provisions of the Code without fail to avoid disqualification.

Finally, I wish to inform you that the Commission remains open for any suggestions or clarifications that you may seek to enable you to contribute effectively to the electoral process. And in an effort to keep open communication and continue with information sharing, the Commission in 2013 launched a Voter Education Resource Centre in Lusaka situated in the show grounds. The Resource Centre has information and modern equipment to make it easy for learners and researchers wishing to gather information about the Commission and the electoral process. The Centre is open to you and indeed to all members of the public wishing to obtain electoral information. So when you have time kindly visit it.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of you for participating in this process and I hope that we shall have a peacefully conducted by-election in Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward and become a living example of what practicing democracy is all about. I wish you all the best as we await the conduct of the by-elections on 11th April, 2019 here in Bahati Constituency and Chilyapa Ward in particular and other parts of the country.

I thank you and God bless you.
Electoral Commission of Zambia

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An electoral system is a set of rules on how votes are converted into seats for political or civic authority. 
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