PRESIDENT Lungu’s appointment of Justice Esau Chulu as Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson has received overwhelming support from the civil society and opposition political parties.
On Tuesday, President Lungu promoted Mr Justice Chulu to replace Mrs Justice Irene Mambilima, who was recently appointed as Chief Justice.
The President has also appointed former Women for Change executive director Emily Sikazwe and former Pemba member of Parliament (MP) David Matongo as ECZ commissioners.
MMD president Nevers Mumba said in an interview yesterday that he is inspired by President Lungu’s choice in Mr Justice Chulu for the position of ECZ chairperson.
Dr Mumba said Mr Justice Chulu is qualified because he has acted in the position after Mrs Justice Mambilima’s appointment as Chief Justice.
“We have no objections to the appointment as MMD and we hope parliament will ratify him because the country will be going to the polls next year,” Dr Mumba said.
He also described Ms Sikazwe and Mr Matongo as a colourful combination because they have both greatly contributed to national development.
And Ms Sikazwe said it is a big responsibility on behalf of the people of Zambia and an opportunity for her to contribute towards the making of the electoral process accountable, transparent, and inclusive.
She said in a separate interview that she will diligently discharge her responsibility to the people of Zambia.
She said Zambia has a lot of capable people and it is an honour for President Lungu to appoint her.
“Women in Zambia have always asked for participation in the democratic process and this is one of the ways the women movement can contribute,” Ms Sikazwe said.
Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director McDonald Chipenzi said the appointment of Mr Justice Chulu as ECZ chairperson, Ms Sikazwe and Mr Matongo as ECZ commissioners is a challenge to them to guide the nation towards next year’s general elections.
“We are in support of the filling of vacancies because the commission was put in a very awkward position. The expectations on the trio are high because elections require level-headedness and fairness,” he said.
And United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson Charles Kakoma said it is good that President Lungu has filled the vacancies at ECZ to enable it to start preparations for next year’s tripartite elections.
Mr Kakoma said UPND members of Parliament will support the ratification of Mr Justice Chulu’s appointment and the two commissioners because they are credible people.
Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Boniface Cheembe said: “In view of Ms Sikazwe’s track record as a civil activist who understands the issues and concerns of the Zambian people, the President has made a right decision, and as SACCORD, we welcome and believe that she will add value to the conduct of elections, especially as this relates to the holding of free, fair credible and peaceful elections.”