The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has pledged to deliver credible elections when Zambians vote on August 12, 2021.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Kryticuos Nshindano said the electoral body has put in place adequate preparations to make the elections credible despite pockets of political violence recorded across the country.
Mr. Nshindano said ECZ has demonstrated its resolve to ensure that the August 12, 2021 polls are credible by guaranteeing that erring political parties have been suspended from campaigning in respective trouble-torn areas.
He disclosed that the electoral commission has spent about K1.2 billion out of its K1.5 billion budget on ensuring that the August 12 polls are credible and held in line with acceptable international electoral practices.
Over seven million voters are expected to participate in Thursday’s general elections to elect the President, Members of Parliament, Mayors or Council Chairpersons and Local government councilors.
Mr. Nshindano assured that the ECZ will ensure that election results are announced within 72 hours from the time the last polling station closes at 18:00hours on Wednesday, August 12, 2021.
He further urged the stakeholders, interest groups and the general public to desist from announcing the election results as it is the preserve of the ECZ.
He said election results for presidential, parliamentary, mayoral and councilor levels will be counted and announced at the 950 polling stations dotted across the country, and stuck at the entrance of the stations for the general public to see.
Mr. Nshindano further said the ECZ is ready to conduct a presidential re-run vote in the event that neither of the 18 presidential candidates manages to garner 50 percent plus one of the votes cast on election day.
He said the law provides for the re-run and that the electoral body has already budgeted for it.
Meanwhile, The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says it has instituted measures aimed at ensuring that voting is conducted smoothly within correctional facilities during Thursday’s general elections.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano reveals that among the measures put in place, the commission has provided training to Correctional service personnel for the purposes of conducting successful electoral process within the prison facilities.
Mr Nshindano says correctional facilities are also allowed to receive campaign materials to ensure that inmates have access to voter education and exposed to the participating candidates.
The ECZ Chief Electoral officer explained in a statement that polling stations at the correctional facilities will undergo the same electoral practices prevailing in ordinary polling stations adding that all stakeholders partaking in the elections will be allowed in the premises.
“ However, as correctional centers are security facilities and therefore observers, monitors, polling agents and other stakeholders will be subjected to the routine screenings before entrance as per practice, “ he said.
And addressing the issue of transferred inmates from one facility to another likely to be denied the chance to vote, Mr. Nshindano said correctional personnel are fully aware of the electoral process and have been mindful even as these transfers are done.
He further added that released inmates who registered at correctional centers are free to go back and vote from these centers and assured all concerned parties that correctional polling centers are as safe as any other.
“As earlier said, you can only vote from where you are registered from, so everybody has the right to access, the conditions that prevail at any other polling stations also prevail at the polling station in the correctional facilities,” he said.
And speaking at the same event, ECZ Director of Electoral Operations Royd Katongo said correctional center polling stations will not in any way be treated differently but will be subjected to all electoral procedures including access by stakeholders as well as counting of the results at the respective centers before being transferred to the totaling center.
Mr Katongo explained however that newly sentenced inmates who are not registered at their current holding facility if not released by the election date will not be allowed to go and cast their votes at their registered polling centers.
He said this is not within the Jurisdiction of the ECZ to handle but is the mandate of the Correctional service.
The ECZ has this year registered 14, 963 inmates as voters to participate in the elections for the first time in the country’s history.