United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema has charged that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ’s) Presidential Summit which was held at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) must not be misconstrued as a solution to the numerous contentious electoral issues the country is grappling with.
He said it’s not fair for ECZ to suggest that the acquisition of National Registration Cards (NRC’s) is outside it’s domain when every voter is required to have an NRC.
President Hichilema observed that the intent of the Presidential Summit for all political parties was not clear.
He argued that the lack of consensus among political players on a number of contentious issues affecting the country’s electoral process such as the issuance of NRCs to foreigners and underage children, the breakdown in the rule of law and respect for human rights, restricted freedoms and community violence should be addressed if democratic tenets were to be entrenched in the country.
President Hichilema said the current voters’ register is legally correct and has a provision for the removal of dead people from it.
President Hichilema also stated that compliance to existing laws in the country was at its worst both before, during and after elections, saying that the trend has led to an increase in political violence, vote buying using the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) and abuse of the Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC).
He stated that it was laughable for the ECZ to allege that the discrepancies surrounding the removal of the dead people from the old register has prompted the elections body to come up with a new voter’s roll.
He said there were several contentious issues surrounding the electoral processes such as the archaic Public Order Act (PoA) which needed to be addressed as they affected the political environment in the country.
“All these contentious issues need to be addressed if the ECZ is to conduct free, fair and credible elections,” he said.
The ECZ has proposed among other issues, the implementation of the 2019 delimitation recommendation for new election boundaries and increasing the number of polling stations from the current 7, 700 to 8, 999 as well as a three-phased online registration method which will include pre-online, mobile and static registration in which the electoral body plans to capture between 8.8m to 9m eligible voters within 30 days.
Video — CWBW8376
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