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Zambia Elections Information Centre Issues Statement on the Presidential Inauguration

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Zambia Elections Information Centre Statement on the Presidential Inauguration

“The new government has a lot of work ahead of it, and should ensure that issues that came up during the elections are resolved.”

President Edgar C. Lungu was sworn in as President of Zambia yesterday, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. The Zambia Elections Information Centre (ZEIC) would like to take this opportunity to encourage the President and his government to resolve issues around accountability, media freedom, freedom of assembly, the referendum on the Bill of Rights, and women’s participation that arose during the electoral process.

Speaking after the inauguration ceremony, ZEIC Co-Chairperson, Chimfwembe Mweenge Kana, said that, “the next five years will be crucial for the country’s development. As ZEIC, we take this opportunity to encourage the President and his government to take up issues which are still pending from the last Cabinet and electoral period.” Mr Mweenge Kana added, “the new government has a lot of work ahead of it, and should ensure that issues that came up during the elections are resolved. This would help lay the groundwork for a more prosperous and peaceful Zambia.”

Ministers from the previous government paying back money owed

On August 8, 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Ministers and their deputies should have left office after the dissolution of Parliament, and that they should pay back all salaries and allowances that they had received between the date of the ruling, and the 12th of May, 2016 when Parliament was dissolved. Although the ruling was decisive, it will be up to the government to ensure that the judgement is enforced. To date, none of the public officials have returned the money owed. To have former public officials disregard a ruling of the highest court in the country would be to set a terrible precedent. The government should signal the end of impunity and make sure the respondents comply with the judgment. In addition, in a difficult economic environment, where the government will need to tighten its fiscal spending, it will be important for the government to demonstrate its commitment to responsible spending and good governance by recuperating these funds immediately.

Media freedom and freedom of assembly

As numerous electoral observation missions noted, although violence on election day was limited, the campaign period was marked by restrictions on media freedom and freedom of assembly. Strict interpretations of the Public Order Act made it difficult for opposition parties to gather without intimidation from the state security agencies. As regards media freedom, The Post, a private newspaper that has been critical of the ruling party was closed by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). In addition, it was observed that the public media privileged ruling party views and limited access to opposition parties. In addition, three broadcasting houses: Muvi TV, Ithezhi Thezhi Radio and Komboni Radio stations had their broadcasting licenses suspended by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) for having violated sections of the Broadcasting Act during their election coverage. While Ithezhi Thezhi and Muvi TV have subsequently re-opened, Komboni Radio remains closed. As a consequence, media institutions might be apprehensive about what might come next. As we noticed on our media platforms, Zambians enjoy engaging in spirited political debates. Therefore, we urge the President to take steps to ensure that media freedom is restored. Zambian democracy will only flourish in an environment where opposing opinions can be freely expressed and citizens are able to meet in an environment where their freedom of assembly will not be limited.

Failed referendum

The referendum held to enhance the Bill of Rights failed to pass because fewer than 50% of eligible voters voted ‘Yes.’ Several civil society organisations have called for a new referendum on the Bill of Rights to be held separately before the next general election in 2021. The process in which the referendum was organised had been criticized for not sufficiently protecting the content of the Bill of Rights as it moved through the various stages of being created. Further the timing was not ideal because there was not enough time to educate the general public about the contents of the Bill of Rights and the implications of accepting or rejecting the document. We encourage the President to begin the process of enacting a Bill of Rights anew, and to focus on creating a document through consensus, outside of the charged and partisan electoral process.

Women’s participation

The level of women’s participation in the election was disappointing as all the political parties failed to adopt at least 40% of female candidates, as they had promised. In particular, candidates were discouraged by the process of verifying their Grade 12 Certificates, and a large number dropped out during the nomination process. That said, Inonge Wina was elected as the first female vice-president and out of 106 female candidates, 26 were elected as Members of Parliament, up from 17 in the last Parliament. The President and his team should aim to increase the levels of female participation in government, especially in those positions where the President has the discretion to make his own appointments.

As the electoral process draws to a close, we would like to thank all the Zambian citizens who engaged with us on our various platforms. The level of engagement is an exciting indicator of the vibrancy of Zambian politics and bodes well for the country’s democratic future.

21 COMMENTS

    • According to Roland Msiska, Mugabe is President of Zambia. So Mugabe was here to see how his other subjects are doing.

    • JUSTICE OF GOD: PSALMS 73.

      HH, GBM, UPND & WELL MEANING ZAMBIANS: ALL OF YOU THAT HONOUR THE LORDAND OBEY THE WORDS OF HIS SERVANTS, THE PATH YOU WALK MAY BE DARK INDEED, BUT TRUST IN THE LORD, RELY ON YOUR GOD. ISAIAH 50:11

      LUNGU, PF & THEIR FRAUD TEAM: ALL OF YOU THAT PLOT TO DESTROY OTHERS WILL BE DESTROYED BY YOUR OWN PLOTS. THE LORD HIMSELF WILL MAKE THIS HAPPEN; YOU WILL SUFFER A MISERABLE FATE. ISAIAH 50:11

    • PF is named after ZANU-PF. (PATRIOTIC FRONT). The similarity is also beyond names.

      ZANU-PF holds on to power by use of cadre violence & police brutality, so does PF.

      ZANU-PF promotes tribalism between Shonas & Ndebeles, so does PF encourage division of NWR & NER tribes (divide & rule)

      ZANU-PF lost elections in 2008 & delayed announcing results or going for a re-run, so has PF WHICH forged this year elections.

      ZANU-PF has failed Zimbabwe’s economy, so has PF.

      ZANU-PF killed farming in Zimbabwe, so has PF. Next year PF/IMF is removing Fertilizer subsidies, so start saving your maize bags in the bedroom.

      ZANU-PF has die-hard BRAIN-WASHED followers even when they are oppressed, so has PF

      ZANU-PF oppresses media freedom, so does PF

      ZANU-PF continuously arrests…

    • PF is named after ZANU-PF. (PATRIOTIC FRONT). The similarity is also beyond names.

      ZANU-PF holds on to power by use of cadre violence & police brutality, so does PF.

      ZANU-PF promotes tribalism between Shonas & Ndebeles, so does PF encourage division of NWR & NER tribes (divide & rule)

      ZANU-PF lost elections in 2008 & delayed announcing results or going for a re-run, so has PF WHICH forged this year elections.

      ZANU-PF has failed Zimbabwe’s economy, so has PF.

      ZANU-PF killed farming in Zimbabwe, so has PF. Next year PF/IMF is removing Fertilizer subsidies, so start saving your maize bags in the bedroom.

      ZANU-PF has die-hard BRAIN-WASHED followers even when they are oppressed, so has PF

      ….CONT’D

      ZANU-PF continuously arrests opposition leaders, so does…

    • ….CONT’D

      ZANU-PF continuously arrests opposition leaders, so does PF

      ZimDollar bled until it died after IMF squeeze. KWACHA is going that route soon.

      There are so many common things which is why I say PF is the worst thing that has happened to Zambia.

    • Lungu is his bastard son. This man does not know how to run a country. Look at the people he has chosen, a bunch of corrupt cadre. Banda must be drunk with power. Lungu is a failed president, a false head of state. Name me ONE head of state besides the old tyrant Mugabe, who came to his inauguration. Those judges should be ashamed but they are too busy cashing their checks. How do you reverse the ruling and not hear the evidence? And Zambians are like sheep, always sitting down and being fooled. Hunger is coming.

  1. WHAT NONSENSE IS THIS? THE PRESIDENT HAS NOT EVEN FORMED HIS CABINET AND HE GETS A THINGS TO DO LIST FROM AN NGO SPONSORED BY UNDER FIVE. THERE ARE NO POST ELECTION ISSUS TO BE ADDRESSED APART FROM TIGHTENING UP LOOSE CLAUSES IN THE CONSTITUTION COURT LAW, AND PF HAS A BIG WORKING MAJORITY TO PASS ANY CONSTITUTIONAL BILL WITH ALL THE 50 UNDER FIVE MPS VOTING AGAINST SUCH LAW. WE ARE IN FOR INTERESTING TIMES IN THE HISTORY OF ZAMBIA’S MULTY PARTY DEMOCRACY

    • The moment all the candidates hit the campaign trail the TO DO LIST begun. There’s no time to chill works starts now with or without cabinet. You speak like a loose canine.

    • The To-Do List is timely when you have a State House resident who is drunk most times. I would suggest that ZEIC issues an updated list every week.

    • Ba Chile ubupuba bwekabweka fye. You mean you didn’t see that the media is in trouble.?Lungu is not a new president after all. He knows all these problems because he, actually, is the cause of all of them.

  2. Forget about the Bor referendum. You and your under five decampaigned it so much that it failed due to your selfishness. All those media reforms and rights of assembly could have been the thing of the past. You denied as the much needed freedom through the constitution kants. Stop talking about the referendum because it will not happen. Zambia is not ready to host another general elections

  3. OK,i for one have a problem with the former ministers not wanting to repay the monies they got from us for the illegal stay in office.The concourt decision if final mind you,you want HH to respect the decision when you cannot respect it yourselves…what kind of cawardice and greed is that sure.All you former ministers are way richer than the average citizen yet you dont want to return what we might call as pocket change to you.Am really ashamed of you thievs..please return the monies you used up during your illegal stay..an ECL please don’t appoint any of them till they pay back what they owe……but alas Magaret Mwanakatwe,Harry Kalaba and others have already been re appointed…..

  4. Mad, Bad UPND still at it. Media control was apt. It was a solution that suites the country and its psychology. Western critics want Zambia/’people in far flung places,’ to be like them but we are different. Giving too much power to grass skirted people in suits is not the right fit for Zambia. Irresponsible, anarchism tendencies have arisen from this freedom, a misuse redirecting freedom to be to freedom to remove/prevent democractically elected gov’t. Fact, we need tighter regulations to Media to keep order in Zambia, protect the innocent from corrupted mind bending. On Minisitrial Salaries, Parliamentary standards must now weigh in to ensure the relevant MPs are made to pay back their portions, as soon as they can within a tree month period! The rest on constitution is just…

  5. @Maloza and company, let me tell you that NO government under the sun will satisfy all citizens. There will always be those that will be happy and those that will not be happy.
    I can bet on this…..

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