Thursday, April 18, 2024

Zambians advocacy for Electoral and Legislative Reforms will yield positive results in the near future

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The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) has expressed confidence that Zambians advocacy for Electoral and Legislative Reforms will yield positive results in the near future.

CCMG Copperbelt Steering Committee Chairperson Fr. Bernard Kapembwa said the faith based organisation is raising awareness of gaps in the Electoral Process Act, Electoral Code of Conduct, ECZ transparency and independence.

Fr. Kapembwa said CCMG was advocating legal reforms in the best interest of the public.

He emphasised that CCMG was not a partisan organisation saying it advocates legal reforms in good faith.

Fr. Kapembwa was speaking when officially opening a stakeholders engagement forum on legal reforms held at Cross Roads in Ndola where discussants and members of the public tackled matters relating to Public Order Law, the independence of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and its transparency.

“This is one of those events that we usually organise as CCMG to discuss various issues especially pertaining to governance and the electoral process. We are here to have an exchange of information and we have experts on these matters. As CCMG we have been looking forward to doing papers and undertakings we have started already. What we have been doing is basically on constitutional reform process, electoral code of conduct, electoral processes and ECZ independence. These are the things at a particular time or one day will help us come up with something formidable that is going to inform the nation that is going to inform the grassroots. We the CCMG are basically a faith based organisation and we are non-partisan. We do things for the sake of the grassroots, for the sake of the citizenry. The purpose of CCMG is to help in promoting credible elections through domestic, local but non-partisan kinds of monitoring of elections,” Fr. Kapembwa.

The stakeholders’ forum discussed Electoral and Legislative Framework Reforms concerning gaps in the Electoral Process Act, Electoral Code of Conduct, ECZ transparency and independence.

Meanwhile, lawyer Daniel Libati urged stakeholders advocating legal reforms to utilise the reforms plan proposed by the UPND Government to deliver a good constitution.

The forum was aimed at raising public discourse on the Discussion papers that CCMG has developed on Constitutional Reform, Electoral Process Act and Electoral Code of Conduct, Electoral Commission of Zambia Independence and Transparency and Diaspora and Prison Voting.

CCMG is made up of the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).

CCMG Programme Manager Peter Mwanangombe has been highlighting the developed six discussion papers on the Review of NRC Laws, Constitution Reforms, ECZ Transparency, ECZ Independence, Diaspora and Prison Voting, and Electoral Process Act and Electoral Code of Conduct.

“The appointment of ECZ commissioners by the President was noted as a problem as their independence and objectivity was often questioned. The participants recommended removal of the president from the process of appointment of ECZ Commissioners and called for public applications for any vacant commissioner positions with clearly outlined qualifications and selection criteria to enhance transparency. Further, the participants called for strengthening of the Electoral Process Act by codifying into law rights of observers, clearly stating accreditation criteria, in order to devoid and insulate them from unwarranted restrictions. In our quest to ensure that legislative and electoral reforms are not only identified but dealt with, CCMG has developed six discussion paper; (Review of NRC Laws, Constitution Reforms, ECZ Transparency, ECZ Independence, Diaspora and Prison Voting, and Electoral Process Act and Electoral Code of Conduct,” Mr. Mwanangombe said.

He continued:”An electoral process that is limited in transparency and accountability translates to imposition of leadership on the people which consequently undermines electoral democracy and legitimacy of the resultant leadership. This is so because it is assumed that there can be no electoral democracy without credible elections but most probable, elections can occur in the absence of electoral democracy (Bams, 2015). The purpose of this Discussion Paper is to analyse the transparency of the ECZ from the legal and administrative perspective. The key elements of transparency is the ability of a governance system to have clear processes and procedures and easy access to public information by citizens through information sharing. This Discussion Paper argues that the Republican Constitution requires a transparent electoral system in Zambia and some administrative measures have been instituted which contribute to this. While some transparency, such as the possibility for political party election agents and observers are supported by the law, most of it such as consultation with civil society is at the discretion of the Commission.”

1 COMMENT

  1. The Electoral Commission of Zambia seems to have defranchised a lot of eligible voters during the recent Kabushi by elections of Ndola and that of Kwacha in Kitwe. The constitution reforms are very necessary to enhance and protect the democratic rights of people.

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