The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has refuted claims by various stakeholders that there’s a vacuum in the operations of the Commission.
The Commission’s Acting Chief Electoral Officer Bob Musenge noted during a media address yesterday that despite the Commission currently not having a substantive Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, the composition of the Commission is provided for under Section 6 (5) (c) of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016 which stated that where there is no Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson will preside over the proceedings of the Commission, and where there is no Chairperson and Vice Chairperson, the members will choose amongst themselves for someone to preside over the matters or meetings.
“Arising from this legal provision, we would like to inform all stakeholders that there is no vacuum in the operations of the Commission,” Mr Musenge said
Mr Musenge added that the Commission’s Secretariat which is headed by the Chief Electoral Officer is fully functional, and currently headed by the Acting Chief Electoral Officer who is fully supported by the Directorates.
Meanwhile, Mr Musenge explained that in preparation for the upcoming By-Elections, the Commission has commenced the briefing and training of District Voter Education Committees (DVEC) and Conflict Management Committees (DCMCs) in all the Districts that have By-Elections.
He added that the nominations for the By-Elections for three Council Chairpersons and 21 Ward Councillor By-Elections will be conducted on Thursday 13th October, 2022 and the By-Elections are slated for 4th November, 2022 will take place from 06:00 hours to 18:00 hours.
“The Local Government vacancies have risen because of deaths, nullification of elections and resignations” he mentioned
Mr Musenge said that the Commission has since urged all aspiring candidates in the By-Election to lodge completed and attested statutory declaration and nomination papers subscribed before the Magistrate, Local Court Magistrate, Head of Government Primary or Secondary School, Principal of a college, Commissioner of Oaths, Election Officer or returning officer on Thursday 13th October, 2022 between 09:00 hours and 15:00 hours.
He stated that the Commission is also scheduled to conduct youth conferences and traditional leaders’ meetings in Mkushi, Mwense and Lusangazi Districts respectively.
Mr Musenge disclosed that the By-Elections in Kabushi and Kwacha Constituencies which were scheduled for 15th September, 2022, could not take place nor proceed because of the High Court ruling delivered on 13th September, 2022, staying or suspending the elections for the two constituencies.
He added that the Commission is alive to the fact that the Constitution gives 90 days in which to conduct a By-Election, and the Commission will make a pronouncement on the matter in due course, as stakeholders will be updated accordingly.
And Mr Musenge also disclosed that the continuous voter registration which commenced in June this year and scheduled to be suspended on 30th September, 2022 to facilitate for the de-duplication exercise meant to clean up the registration data, will continue until 31st December, 2022, as a revised roadmap will be published in due course by the Commission.
In giving a recap on the Voter Registration Exercise Statistics, Mr Musenge said that a total of 6,413 voters registered in the month of September, 2022, out of which 2,8883 are male while 3,530 are females.
“Solwezi recorded the highest number of registered in the month at 2,041 while Mongu recorded the least at 45, Ndola did not record any new registration due to the suspension of the exercise in the area on account of pending Parliamentary By-Elections,” Mr Musenge noted
“The 10,493 is the cumulative total number of voters since the exercise commenced on 1st June 2022, and out of which a total number of voters during this period is 5,592 male while 4,901 are females,” Mr Musenge added