Fears by the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) which came third in the 2015 Presidential By elections and five other smaller parties over the requirement for total of 1,000 supporters drawn from all 10 provinces as stipulated in the new constitution is unfounded and has no basis.
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) would have loved to raise that number for any candidate wishing to participate in a Presidential election to have 500 supporters from each province who shall appear before a Judge in each province as the Chief Justice’s representative at the prescribed time when a Presidential candidate is filing his or her nomination.
The requirement to have 1,000 supporters to back a candidate does not expressly state the 100 registered voters need to be ferried to Lusaka from each of the 10 provinces and parties like FDD must have been advocating for increase in the number from 100 to 500 but call on MPs to expedite amendment of the Elections Act to ensure these supporters appear before a Judge in each province at a time when a Presidential candidate is filing his or her nomination.
While we understand the mammoth challenges small parties will face in mobilising 100 registered voters in each province, we wonder how these political parties can expect to win presidential elections if they can fail to raise 100 supporters from each province.
The People’s Party (PP), National Revolution Party (NRP), Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM), Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) and Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) must undertand and appreciate that it has been the wish and will of the people of Zambia to have political parties with a national character and not jokers who use money to compete in an election. The people of Zambia want political representation by parties which are present in every province as opposed to having Lusaka-based political parties.
We think the true intention of these political parties in asking President Lungu not to assent the Bill is not their proclaimed opposition to the requirement of 100 supporters from each province but it is the provision which require the winning candidate to have the 50 percent plus 1 vote. If they are not afraid of these Clauses and if they think they have a presence in all provinces, we invite them to join calls for the President to assent the Bill. It is possible the Elections Act may be amended to provide for the 100 registered supporters to appear in their respective provinces and ECZ has a mandate to state how these nominations may be done.