PRESIDENT Banda has said that the parallel vote tabulation (PVT), which some civil society organisations and donors are advocating, is alien to Zambia and a recipe for conflict.
Speaking on return from South Africa at the Lusaka International Airport on March 12, President Banda said the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is the only body mandated by the Constitution to conduct elections and disseminate results.
Mr Banda said countries that had been influenced into conducting PVT have ended up with civil unrest, a thing he did not wish for Zambia.
“We have laws in this country. Parallel Vote Tabulation is a stranger to us, it’s alien. We have never had it before. I wish those advocating it could give us the reasons. In any case, in countries where the same people have tried it, like Ivory Coast, up to now there is conflict,” he said.
The President urged people championing PVT in the forthcoming general elections to respect the laws of the land that have vested these powers in the ECZ.
The President was in South Africa to attend the first-ever Africa Investment Summit at the invitation of a leading global news and information company, Thomson Reuters.
Meanwhile, the ECZ has rejected calls by some organisations advocating a PVT system.
The commission has said it will not endorse a process that has the potential to plunge the country into chaos should the said NGOs mishandle the process.
ECZ public relations manager Chris Akufuna said in a statement yesterday that the commission has strong reservations against PVT because there are some NGOs who have exhibited distinct political inclinations.
Mr Akufuna stated that the commission is skeptical about the NGOs that are politically inclined adhering to procedures regulating the conduct of the elections.
Mr Akufuna explained that ECZ would not be able to absolve itself from possible electoral conflicts and its consequences if the PVT process is mismanaged.
“The commission does not want to endorse a process which, if mishandled, will not absolve itself from the ensuing conflict and consequences because it is the commission that is responsible for all matters pertaining to elections. The commission has strong reservations about the PVT process given the current environment in which there are distinct political inclinations of interested parties and if the PVT is mishandled, could lead to conflict and chaos,” Mr Akufuna said.
He said whilst it is advocated that the results of the PVT would be made known to the commission before publication, ECZ is not convinced that in the current situation there would be adherence to the procedure.
Article 76 of the constitution mandates the ECZ to conduct the presidential and parliamentary elections as well as the local government elections under the Local Government Act Cap 282.
It is the mandate of the ECZ to manage the electoral process and the commission is the only body responsible for the conduct of elections.
The ECZ is the only body mandated to determine as to whether the environment is conducive for any activities pertaining to elections.
Mr Akufuna said that under regulation 15 (6) (f) of the Electoral Act, monitors and observers shall not by themselves or through their organisations declare or disclose the result of any election before the declaration by the commission.
“The commission’s position is that it is solely responsible for the conduct of elections and the announcement/declaration of election results from polling station level. The law clearly provides for the procedure to be undertaken by a person that is dissatisfied or aggrieved by an election result and it is this procedure that should be followed. Even if PVT was to be undertaken, it is the provisions under the law that must be adhered to in the event of a disputed result,” Mr Akufuna said.
Meanwhile, CHIMWEMWE MWALE reports that the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID) has urged political stakeholders to stick to the existing voting system which has the ECZ as the final and legitimate body to announce election results.
ZCID chairperson Njekwa Anamela said all political parties in the country must recognize the ECZ as a legitimate body and accept the results from its appointed returning officers at polling stations.
Mr Anamela said in an interview with the Sunday Mail that contrary to suggestions by some sections of society the announcements of election results by the ECZ are not controversial.
He said the ZCID has no problems with the ECZ handling and announcing the election results for various candidates as the institution is experienced.
Mr Anamela said the ECZ must be allowed to do its work independently as it is the only credible institution that can announce election data for public consumption.
[Zambia Daily Mail]