A consortium of Civil Society and Student Organisations has advised foreign observers from countries that have been hardly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic to stay away from Zambia’s 2021 General Elections.
During a media briefing held today at Mika Lodge, the Democracy and Motherland Defenders Coalition (DMDC) said it was good for both Zambia and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to limit the entry of foreign observers from countries that have been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on behalf of the coalition, DMDC Spokesperson Andrew Ntewewe said the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must lead consultations on how to prevent multitudes of foreign observers who come from countries where coronavirus has ravaged the nations and kills many of its citizens.
Meanwhile, the Coalition has disclosed it will recruit, train and deploy 22,000 election monitors in all polling stations during the August 12 General Elections.
And the Good Governance Zambia (GGZ), an institution that sponsored the two-day training on election monitoring for national and provincial leaders of the Coalition said holding a credible and free election must be seen as a process not limited to an election day.
GGZ National Coordinator Rodney Katongo said disclosed at the same briefing that GGZ will work to partner with various local civil society and student organisations who are committed to ensure free and fair 2021 general election.
Mr. Katongo reiterated a call to local monitoring groups to prepare adequately if they have to contribute towards credible, free and fair elections even in the absence of foreign monitors in the absence of foreign observers.
“Foreign observers, even though important to the electoral process, have a limited role of merely observing an election but it is local monitors who own the process that have a duty to ensure the country’s election are well managed. So, we can dispense with foreign monitors but we must prepare adequately to manage our own elections as a people,” he said.