SACCORD Acting Programs Manager Arthur Muyunda says the Zambia Centre for Inter Party Dialogue (ZCID) is a weak structure which has not managed any electoral disputes since its establishment.
And FODEP Livingstone District Chairperson Gideon Musonda says Zambia should adopt a mixed member proportion representation system at governance level so that even smaller political parties can have a representation in Parliament.
The duo were speaking at an ActionAid organised training on ‘mobilising civil society support for implementation of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), in Siavonga, Southern Province.
During his presentation, Muyunda observed that an increase in election disputes resulted partly from an increase in public understanding of the redress process.
“Election disputes are inherent in any election. Challenging an election, its conduct or its results, should however not be perceived as a reflection of weakness in the system but as proof of the strength, activeness, and openness of a political system. Therefore the increase in variety and number of election disputes results partly from an increase in public understanding of the redress process. The more we have election disputes and the more people talk about what went wrong in an election, it means that there is increase in the public understanding of the redress process,” he said.
“The filing of an election petition is the constitutionally and statutorily prescribed procedure for challenging the process, conduct or result of elections in the courts of law. So if there is a petition we shouldn’t demonise it. It means someone is not happy with the process and the only way they can challenge the process is by going to petition through the courts.”
Muyunda observed that ZCID was a weak structure which had not managed any electoral disputes since its establishment.
“Some of the weakness of the Electoral system are where the winner takes it all. Once people know that this is the winner, [then] it means the winner can control everything. Our electoral system is so weak that the President has so much powers. Then our political infrastructure which deals with electoral disputes in Zambia is weak. ZCID is a structure that was put in place in consultation with all political players and government. It was put in place to manage electoral disputes. But that infrastructure is weak,” he observed.
“If you follow their history they haven’t managed any electoral disputes. They have been in existence just maybe in media [but] they have not managed to be accepted by all stakeholders. You will always find that those in opposition will reject ZCID while those in power will always accept it. Then we do not have something we can point at to say ‘this is a post election platform where we can handle electoral disputes in Zambia’.”
Meanwhile FODEP Livingstone District Chairperson Gideon Musonda recommended that the country adopts a mixed member proportion representation system of governance.
“As FODEP, it has been our recommendation that we have a mixed member proportion representation system at our governance levels especially at constituency level. In proportion representation system, it will work well with many of our political parties that are perceived to be small parties. Because what that entails is that out of a proportion of what they get in general elections, the seats will be shared according to the percentage they get. It works well and its different from our current system. Because [in] our current system winners take it all. It is only an advantage to those who are more popular, or big political parties,” said Musonda.
“If you look at the South African way where they have proportion representation system, it works well for them. Because even those political parties that are perceived to be small like the one which is led by Julius Malema, has a voice in Parliament. Has a representation in Parliament because of the system that they use.” will be heard. So for us we will continue pushing that we have some amendments to the law so that it can accommodate as many political parties as possible.”