The Electoral Commission of Zambia, ECZ, has expressed concern at the behaviour of the political parties during the just ended campaigns, where leaders and their members were promoting violence and perpetuating hate speech causing unnecessary misconduct.
Speaking during the meeting held with political parties yesterday, Commission Chairperson Hon. Justice Esau E. Chulu however said political parties should instead take pole position in preaching peace and sending out positive messeges that promote unity in the nation as they carry out their Camapign activities.
He called on especially the political party leaders to curb hate speech and stop inciting violence among their party cadres.
He urged the parties to abide by the electoral code of conduct which provides guidelines to all stakeholders, in maintaining a peaceful and inclusive electoral environment, where all have equal space.
Justice Chulu also cautioned the Police to be professional as they carry out their duties during campaigns and elections and to ensure that all parties are accorded equal treatment as provided in the Electoral Code of Conduct.
And Justice Chulu has reiterated the Electoral Commissions commitment to ensuring that it manages elections in a credible, impartial and transparent manner.
He announced that the commison would also continue to address any challenges that political parties may be faced with.
“We remain open to all interested stakeholders to engage with the commison on issues that may concern them including clarification where need be,in a bid to be inclusive and enhance our electoral process,” he said.
He said the Commission would at no time relegate its constitutional mandate but would continue to strive towards becoming a model electoral management body and be fair in the execution of its mandate.
The main objective of the meeting was to provide an update to stakeholders on various electoral issues that the Commison was undertaking in preparation for the 2021 General Elections which included the delimitaion exercise, printing of Ballot papers, registration of voters, results management, prisoners voting and the enforcement of the Electoral code of conduct.
ONE issue which was extensively discussed was the proposal by the Commison to produce a new voters register targeting 9 million voters for the 2021 General Elections.
Stakeholders expressed concern over the issue of the register citing little time and huge cost of implementing such an exercise comprehensively. The Commison then proposed that stakeholders perhaps update existing voters registers instead of producing a new one.
Stakeholders appealed to the Commison to review its decision to stop sponsering political parties to observe the printing of Ballot papers, an exercise they insisted would promote transparency and creditbity of the process.
The Commission however stated that there are no funds for the said exercise and en outraged the stakeholders to perhaps look to their cooperating partners for support.
The meeting was well attended by party representatives who included Presidents in some cases and Secretary Generals among other representatives.
This information has been made available by ECZ Public Relations Manager, Margaret Chimanse.