By McDonald Chipenzi
The Electoral Commission of Zambia-ECZ- May have acted extravagantly on its expenditure of K1m on rebranding the new logo for the Commission.
GEARS initiative agrees with George Mpombo on his observation in Mast Newspapers that spending K1m on a new ECZ Logo by ECZ was a toe-curling act.
However, Mr Mpombo’s argument that the K1m was have been on electoral law reform may not be accurate because it is not the ECZ that must push for the review of the electoral laws as suggested by Mr Mpombo but the Government and other stakeholders like CSOs or NGOs, political parties.
It is indeed a toe-curling act for ECZ to rebrand its logo in an excess of K1m.
It is our considered view that rebranding a corporate logo must not even have been a priority for the Commission.
This expense is unbelievable for an institution that has failed to respect the provision of the law since 2016 on account of limited funding.
Provisions of the law which the ECZ has disrespected on a claim of having no money include, section 7 of the electoral process Act on registration of voters on a continuous basis and Article 229 of the Constitution on decentralizing the operations of the Commission to provinces and progressively to districts.
Currently, ECZ borrows poll staff from ministries of Education and Local Government respectively, most of them have questionable loyalty to the Commission but their parent ministries.
The hired poll staff usually get excited to work with ECZ for extra allowances and are exposed to political interference especially at the recruitment stage.
It is clear that the reasons for not embarking on decentralizing its operation to provinces and failure to undertake continuous voter registration exercises are not limited funding now but limited political and institution will.
This is a misplaced priority by the ECZ the institution has undertaken as a public body.
Wouldn’t K1m enough to create offices in the 10 or at least 6 provinces of this country to ease its operations and avoid hiring government workers to do its job?
Or wouldn’t it be enough to reopen the closed office points and make their permanent offices in Lusaka and the Copperbelt for the continuous registration of voters to show some commitment to the demands of the law for continuous registration of voters ahead of the 2026 General Election?
Spending K1m public money on rebranding a corporate logo and justifying it is being insensitive and unaccountable to the public demands for efficient, prudent, and accountable use of public funds for quality electoral service delivery.
Who complained against the previous corporate logo for the Commission to prioritize its change so quickly after the general election for it to attract an expenditure of K1m for a new logo?
Are there no priority areas and complaints on ECZ operations lodged to the Commission that it has not acted on due to the claim of limited resources or poor funding?
Is it that now the Commission is well funded to an extent of being such an extravagant spending agency of government with a hopping K1m for a new logo?
The public expects better use of public resources than this surely. Only for a new logo whose impact on the electoral process is nil to gobble K1m?.
Government must help its institutions to avoid such acts in the future where possible so that they are not wasteful because the K1m the Commission has spent on the new logo is a clear act of wastefulness of public funds.
It is a disgusting expenditure truly speaking.
This kind of exaggerated expenses is what makes the electoral process dummy expensive in Africa and Zambia in particular.
No wonder as a country we still take pleasure to print ballot papers in the most expensive places like the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) with excitement deliberately refusing to do it locally.
We must come down to our level of economic development for us to do the right things and compete with equals not with unequal.
The Author is the EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GEARS Initiative Zambia