THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says the high cost of undertaking an election has necessitated the raise in nomination fees for this year’s tripartite elections.
Public relations manager Crispin Akufuna said in a press statement yesterday that the high cost of undertaking an election is to ensure that there is transparency throughout the electoral process.
“The whole idea of ensuring transparency in an election is what is costly. The total cost incurred by the commission per presidential candidate is K288,860 in every election. “If there are 10 presidential candidates like during the 2011 tripartite elections, the commission would spend K2,888,600 on the presidential candidates,” Mr Akufuna said
He said ECZ spends K176,000 for the printing of every register of voters which has to be given to every presidential candidate.
“Further, the commission gives a copy of the register of voters for the entire country to every presidential candidate. The registry of voters is very big, hence the cost of printing one register is US$16,000, which is equivalent to K176,000,” he said
He also explained that the commission meets the cost of the airfare and daily upkeep of agents that political parties nominate to observe the printing of ballots.
“You might be aware that for the candidates who successfully file in their nominations at presidential level, the commission sponsors their agents to observe the printing of ballot papers for the entire period which normally ranges between 20 to 30 days,” he said
The ECZ has revised fees for presidential candidates to K75,000, aspiring members of Parliament to K10,000, mayoral elections at K 10,000, council chairpersons K5,000 and councillors in cities and municipal councils at K2,000, while rural council nominations have been pegged at K1,500.
Political parties and other stakeholders have received the revised nomination fees with mixed feelings.
Ubunthu executive director Reuben Mbewe has said the revised fees are reasonable and timely, while MMD spokesperson Raphael Nakacinda said most people, especially in rural areas, would not manage to raise the K1,500 to stand as councillors because of their low incomes.