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Alba Iulia
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

ECZ Must Act to Stop Political Violence, Regardless of the Party Involved-LAZ

Headlines ECZ Must Act to Stop Political Violence, Regardless of the Party Involved-LAZ

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has called upon the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to use the vast set of tools at its disposal to deal with the growing electoral violence in Zambia.

In a statement released to the media, LAZ said that it is deeply concerned with the continued countrywide electoral violence, and condemns this in the strongest sense and that electoral violence has no place in a democratic society such as Zambia’s, and undermines the fundamental liberties of the public to freely and fairly exercise their right to choose national leaders of their choice.

LAZ further called on upon all political parties to put Zambia’s posterity and prosperity first and prevail over their members who are in the habit of perpetrating electoral violence, to desist from this vice henceforth, in the interest of promoting the Rule of Law, Peace and Stability of Zambia.

LAZ said that ECZ has sufficient powers to punish offenders, and must accordingly act when faced with electoral violence, regardless of the political party involved and that LAZ also commits to use, to the full extent, all legal tools at its disposal against perpetrators of political violence, should this unfortunate emerging trend which assaults the Rule of Law not stop.

Below is the full statement

PRESS RELEASE BY THE LAW ASSOCIATION OF ZAMBIA
(FOR IMMEDIATE CIRCULATION TO MEDIA HOUSES)

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) paid a courtesy call on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Tuesday, 6th October, 2020. During the said courtesy call, a number of critical issues surrounding the electoral process were discussed.

Following the said engagement, a 20 member delegation of LAZ led by its President Mr. Abyudi James Shonga, Jr. S.C met with the ECZ and the Zambia Law Development Commission at Mulungushi International Conference Centre on Friday, 9th October, 2020 to review the proposed Bill on voting by Prisoners in the forthcoming General Elections. LAZ accordingly guided the ECZ on the matter, being cognizance of the Constitutional Court decision in the case of Godfrey Malembeka v The Attorney General and ECZ (Selected Judgment No. 34 of 2017) in which it was held that Prisoners should be allowed to vote in the forthcoming General Elections.

LAZ reiterates the need for ECZ to ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised from voting on account of processes, and that everyone must be carried along, including Prisoners, subject to the guidance offered to ECZ by LAZ.

LAZ is also deeply concerned with the continued countrywide electoral violence, and condemns this in the strongest sense. It is LAZ’s firm position that electoral violence has no place in a democratic society such as ours, and undermines the fundamental liberties of the public to freely and fairly exercise their right to choose national leaders of their choice. Therefore, LAZ calls upon all political parties to put the Country’s posterity and prosperity first and prevail over their members who are in the habit of perpetrating electoral violence, to desist from this vice henceforth, in the interest of promoting the Rule of Law, Peace and Stability of the country, which we have all been privileged to enjoy, as we celebrate 56 years of independence this month.

In sounding this call, LAZ would like to invite all political parties and the general citizenry to seriously reflect on the guidance given by the Constitutional Court in the case of Dean Masule v Romeo Kangombe – 2019/CC/A002 in the following words:

“…we wish to restate that we frown upon and strongly condemn all forms of electoral violence. Elections are a civilized way of participation of citizens in the governance of the country. Electoral violence diminishes the National Values and Principles enshrined in Article 8 of the Constitution. Therefore, free and fair elections are a cornerstone of every democratic State that espouses its values…”

LAZ also calls upon the ECZ to ensure that free and fair elections are delivered, and that the will of the people should always prevail, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, and all enabling subsidiary legislation. In order to achieve this, the process leading up to voting is sacrosanct, as any form of electoral violence makes the process flawed.

Going forward, LAZ is of the view that the ECZ has sufficient powers to punish offenders, and must accordingly act when faced with electoral violence, regardless of the political party involved. We wish to echo what the Constitutional Court said to the ECZ in the aforementioned case, which was followed by a directive to hand over a copy of the Judgment to the ECZ by the Court, as follows:

“…We therefore, strongly urge the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to take necessary steps to curb the worrying culture of electoral violence in the Country. We take judicial notice that the ECZ has wide powers under the law to punish perpetrators of electoral violence which include but not limited to disqualification of a political party in breach of the electoral code of conduct from taking part in an election. It’s time that such powers are invoked so as to preserve life, property, democratic values and principles…”

LAZ also commits to use, to the full extent, all legal tools at its disposal against perpetrators of political violence, should this unfortunate emerging trend which assaults the Rule of Law not stop.

Dated this 16th day of October, 2020.
________________________________
Sokwani Peter Chilembo
HONORARY SECRETARY

5 COMMENTS

  1. Policing is work of Zambia Police under the Inspector-General and Republican President. I don’t see how the ECZ comes in here. The ECZ has no presence in Kasama, Mpika, Sesheke. I don’t know what has become of the Law Association of Zambia.

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  2. ECZ isn’t a law enforcement agency, and I hope LAZ sees how defective that piece of legislation is. Further ECZ isn’t an investigative wing so it’ll be difficult for them to determine whether the violent cadres belong to a particular political Party or they’re masquerades. The role of ECZ must end at election management. Violence is a crime, be it electoral or whatever so Mwami 1 and his Minister Kampyongo are to blame for the upsurge in electoral violence. It seems they just haven’t failed but are also promoters of violence. Why is it that the PF and UPND are the most provoked Parties? Simple, their leaders are sponsors of violence. Mwami 1 has failed because he has allowed cadres to interfere with his work. Bonnie Kapeso has brought sanity to Court premises in Lusaka, can’t Mwami…

  3. That is why as government we procured riot gear and supplies. If you noticed only one party was angered by the procurement of these tools – upnd. A pure sign that it is a violent party because only criminals and troublemakers react negatively to procuring tools needed to ensure peace and order

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  4. A failing Government always reverts Dictatorial ways.. power is sweet and who wants to go back to wearing pata pata’s
    Like Kaunda and unip so it shall come to pass with this government

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