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Alba Iulia
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Electoral Commission of Zambia says it wants to see better reporting from Journalist ahead of 2026 Elections

Feature Politics Electoral Commission of Zambia says it wants to see better reporting from...

Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Corporate Affairs Manager Patricia Luhanga has said the commission want to see improved election reporting among journalists ahead of the 2026 General Election.

ECZ has started reconstituting Media Corps at the National and Provincial levels in a bid to improve its relationship with the press and get feedback on its operations in relation to the electoral process.

Ms. Patricia Luhanga said the commission has noted gaps in election reporting where some stakeholders such as persons with disabilities, women and youths are not effectively covered.

Ms. Luhanga revealed that ECZ has embarked on a program to facilitate journalists’ training on election reporting across the country in the run up to the 2026 polls.

She said ECZ will be training 150 journalists in election coverage yearly prior to the next general election.

Ms. Luhanga was speaking to Radio Icengelo News in Ndola on Tuesday when ECZ conducted a training on election coverage at Protea Hotel in Ndola.

“Media plays a critical role in the electoral process and this is something as Electoral Commission of Zambia we keep repeating ourselves because we realise that for the electoral process to be fully understood by the different stakeholders the media comes in handy to help us disseminate information around our operations.
Therefore, enhancing our relationship with the media is something that is critical and if you look at the operations of the commission even from historical point of view you will realise that if there is one area where to the commission is big in terms of stakeholder engagement is media relations in particular,” Ms. Luhanga said.

She said preparations for the coming general election in relation to media coverage should start now.

“Last year, when we went to the general election, we did undertake some media training but we also received feedback after the elections to see how we faired in our training and in terms of imparting knowledge and how this helped the media to cover the electoral process. One thing we realized is that for us to be able to fully get the benefits of election reporting by the media is to continuously train the media. We shouldn’t just wait for time when it is election period and that is when we go back to train. So, what we have done for this 2026 election cycle, we have started early and what we started with was reconstituting what is called the Media Corps. So, the Media Corps is more like a board constituted of media practitioners that help us as Electoral Commission of Zambia to cover the electoral process effectively,” she said.

Ms. Luhanga said the Electoral Commission of Zambia and politicians should not overshadow other key stakeholders in the electoral process when it comes to media coverage.

“It’s about a partnership where we build capacity in the media through training but they help us to give feedback on the issues that are obtaining on the ground and areas that we need to improve on. So, when you talk about the gap analysis, the feedback we received is that we should be able to continuously train the media for them to understand the electoral process and that is why we are targeting that every year we should be training at least about 150 media practitioners across the country so that we equip them with the necessary knowledge needed for them to cover the electoral process effectively. Let me just be specific, when we talk about how the media is expected to cover issues around the electoral process and when we talk about various stakeholders. It is not just the Electoral Commission of Zambia, it is not just the politicians but you find that we have got our colleagues, the person’s with disabilities who have an interest and a huge stake in the electoral process. We are talking about women. Right now the conversation is that there is less women participating in the politics of this country whereas we have about 56% of the current register being women but we want to also be there to ensure that we cover them in a way that speaks to their requirements. We want youths to be covered. Literally everybody that is part of the electoral process as a stakeholder as to be looked at and covered in terms of what are their areas of interest are and what it is that they want to see around the electoral process,” Ms. Luhanga said.

1 COMMENT

  1. There’s been reports of elections monitors (polling Agents inside the voting centers) being chased from polling centers in some parts of the country. Come 2026 we need cameras in all voting places both outside and inside. ECZ has funding and they can easily implement this starting now if they mean well. We should also have foreign observers go to the hot spots (areas where people may have been notorious for chasing polling agents when it’s time to count votes). Any voting not captured on camera should not be counted, and this should be part of ECZ reforms. This would help keep would be wrong doers away and also increase the credibility of the elections and help with vote audits in case of disputes. Maybe this is not time to introduce electronic voting as it is susceptible to hacking…

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