The Ministry of Health and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), have held a meeting to discuss the way forward on how to conduct the August 2021, General elections under the new Normal.
The meeting has been held under the directives of President Edgar Lungu.
The meeting was attended by Health Minister Jonas Chanda, his Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama, ECZ Chief Electoral Officer, Patrick Nshindano and Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) Director, Victor Mukonka.
The meeting resolved to urgently constitute the Technical Coordination Committee to be headed by the ECZ.
The committee, will bring together different players who will come up with actionable points on how the August, 2021 elections will be conducted amid the COVID-19.
And Health Minister, Jonas Chanda says he was happy that the meeting, which was under the directives of President Edgar Lungu, resolved to have a Technical Coordinating Committee constituted, which will have a clear and simple message to communicate to the country.
Dr. Chanda also said the committee is very key as it will have to coopt various stakeholders.
He further stated that the committee should be above politics and focus on the health of Zambians.
Dr. Chanda appealed to everyone who Will be part of the committee to be professional and put safety of the people at the heart of everything.
” It is very easy for everything to be politised especially during an election period. However, measures aimed at protecting the people should not be politicized, he stated.
He noted that once the committee is constituted, there will be need for frequent updates to the public on the safety of Zambians before, during and after elections.
The Minister has since reassured ECZ of his Ministry’s support and that of many Cooperating Partners.
Dr. Chanda also said the changing epidemiology of the COVID-19 can easily change things at any time, stating that is was the reason Government was moving aggressively to have the vaccine.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nshindano says the engagement was timely, as it would give a road map on the holding of elections amid the COVID-19.
Mr. Nshindano also said his institution recognized the threats that the pandemic posed to the election calender, adding that there was need to continously observe and review COVID-19 guidelines in order to protect the stakeholders.