Sunday, July 21, 2024

Termination of Sikazwe’s contract with ECZ was premature – Nshindano

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FORMER ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano has told the Constitutional Court that the termination of former ECZ vice chairperson Emily Sikazwe’s contract by the President was premature.
This is a matter in which Sikazwe petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking an order that President Hakainde Hichilema’s decision to terminate her contract was null and void and devoid of merit.

Sikazwe was appointed as the Vice Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in 2018, and her contract was set to run until 2022. However, in 2021, President Hakainde Hichilema terminated her contract prematurely, citing “gross misconduct” as the reason for her termination. Sikazwe then took the matter to the Constitutional Court, seeking an order that the President’s decision was null and void and lacked merit.

During the court proceedings, former ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano testified in support of Sikazwe’s case. Nshindano stated that the termination of Sikazwe’s contract was premature and not in accordance with the ECZ’s code of conduct. He stated that, according to the ECZ’s code of conduct, Sikazwe was entitled to a fair hearing before her contract could be terminated. Nshindano also pointed out that there was no evidence to support the President’s claims of “gross misconduct” against Sikazwe.

Nshindano’s testimony was seen as significant as he was a former senior official of the ECZ and had an in-depth knowledge of the Commission’s policies and procedures. He also had a reputation for being impartial and professional in his approach to electoral matters. Nshindano’s testimony was seen as further proof of the lack of evidence against Sikazwe and the premature nature of her termination.

Sikazwe’s case has drawn widespread attention, with many in the legal and political circles expressing concern about the President’s decision to terminate her contract. The termination has been seen as a political move, with some suggesting that Sikazwe was targeted because of her perceived political affiliations. Sikazwe, a highly regarded and respected electoral official, had earned a reputation for being independent and impartial in her work. Her termination has raised serious questions about the independence of the ECZ and its ability to conduct free and fair elections.

In addition to Nshindano’s testimony, several other witnesses were called to testify in the case. These included former ECZ officials, election observers, and experts in the field of electoral matters. Their testimonies further reinforced the argument that Sikazwe’s termination was unjustified and lacked merit.

In addition, the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Sikazwe’s case will have far-reaching implications for the independence of the ECZ and the integrity of the electoral process in Zambia. The case has brought to the forefront the importance of protecting the independence of electoral bodies and ensuring that they are free from political interference. The Constitutional Court’s ruling will serve as a benchmark for the protection of electoral integrity and the independence of electoral bodies in Zambia and beyond.

Regardless of the outcome, the case has already shed light on the need for a clear and transparent code of conduct for electoral officials and the importance of ensuring that they are given a fair hearing before any action is taken against them. It has also highlighted the need for electoral bodies to be protected from political interference and to be allowed to carry out their duties in an impartial and independent manner.

The case of Sikazwe’s termination is a reminder of the importance of protecting the independence of electoral bodies and ensuring that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner. It serves as a warning to all those who seek to undermine the electoral process and the independence of electoral bodies for their own political gain. The outcome of the case will be closely watched by the people of Zambia and beyond, as it will set a precedent for the protection of electoral integrity and the independence of electoral bodies in the region and beyond.

15 COMMENTS

  1. ECZ in its current state was not fit for purpose. Zambia could not afford to have people like Judge Esau Chulu as part of ECZ when this not so honourable judge cooked figures of 2016 presidential results giving ECL more votes than registered votes. To salvage ECZ, most senior ECZ officials needed to be done away with. The syndrome of hiding in constitutional posts, immunity protection and taboo mantra is evil over good. lIKE CANCER, ALL CANCEROUS CELLS need removing to save life. Unfortunately, Sikazwe was in the heat of things – a collateral casualty.

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    • Had HH waited for a few months, Emily Sikazwe’s contract would hv ended just with passage of time and all this legal wrangling would not hv taken place. I hv evidence of the ECZ not even acknowledging correspondence from members of the public seeking unclassified information which it collects as a matter of course.

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  2. It seems each President shall have own officers at all institutions. But I don’t know how that will help them in elections. So far all that have lost elections the ECZ was full of their appointees. At a time when Nkombo and Mwiimbu were howling at ECZ officials like maniacs, only Simwinga listened to them. Not that he agreed with what they had to say but because he was immune to insults by having been an official at Chingalika a team supported by Buchi boys. Today they’ve promoted him, not because he’s able but due to that experience.

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    • I disagree Ayatollah. A public officer has a duty to listen to all stakeholders, even rude ones. Not that I’m encouraging rudeness to public officers but rude members of the public can actually be taught good manners by a cool, calm and collected demeanour. They can realise their own stupidity without calling them stupid.

  3. But these comments coming out of court are embarrassing to the presidency. It is better to act wise and avoid such situations. One can still get what they want if they are patient and move along with all stakeholders.

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  4. Hakainde is abusing the electorates’ trust which was basically a protest vote against the PF’s cadrerism and not the choice of Hakainde. The Zambian people must learn that the choice of particular president is not a passport to perpetuate injustice. One would have thought that Hakainde would have been wiser than he is currently exhibiting.

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  5. Failed leaders always behave in this fashion. I do not think it is right to think that because PF created monisters of cadres we can allow Hakainde to continue the same path of victimisation of innocent hard working Zambians. Hakainde must respect the institutions of state begining with state house

  6. If someone thinks he can manipulate our elections, then he doesn’t know who the Zambians are. Let him ask KK and FTJ if he can manage. We look docile but we’re like a burning fuse. He can employ as many stooges as he can but he must remember, we’re ba Zambia.

    • Chavula the Ugandan was caught manipulating Electoral Commission of Zambia servers in broad daylight and with many witnesses but you ba Zambia did nothing.

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