The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says preparations for the 2021 general election will start next year.

In an interview, ECZ Public Relations Manager Margaret Chimanse said the commission would be ready by 2021.

“We have every system following the cycle; we’ll be ready by 2021,” Chimanse said.

She explained that in 2019, as per Constitution requirements, the Commission would start with a delimitation exercise with a view to create proper boundaries for voters in large constituencies.

“The exercise will involve all stakeholders, and people at district and community-level will make submissions that will be tabled in Parliament,” she said.

“We expect to have more constituencies than we have at the moment and more wards. The aim of this exercise is to make voting easier for people so that everyone who is voting can at least vote within the distance they can walk.”

Chimanse said the commission was considering an online voter registration possibility.

She disclosed that by 2020, the full position on this possibility would be known depending on availability of funds from the Treasury.

“We look forward to having [the] Treasury releasing the funds for that. This is something that we are doing ongoing. When [we] say online registration, it does not mean the other [manual] registration will be done away with. We are looking at people who have capacity to use devices, and even at registration centres will have devices where people can also register online and the usual manual registration, it will be done side-by-side,” said Chimanse.

She further said there was still no provision for diaspora voting as no laws had been passed to legalize that specific function yet.

Chimanse also expressed confidence with the ECZ’s previous experience in handling elections of such magnitude.

And in a statement, Monday, Chimanse disclosed the electoral roadmap.

“Elections are never a single day’s event. There are various processes within a five (5) year
electoral cycle that are integral prior to the day of voting. These processes include delimitation (the demarcating of boundaries for constituencies, wards and polling districts in order for voters to have better accessibility of polling stations), voter
registration, candidate nomination, accreditation of observers, election day, results tabulation, post-election review processes to learn and improve the process for subsequent (by) elections, amongst others. In view of this, the Commission intends to undertake the following processes leading towards 2021: a) Delimitation in 2019; b) Voter Registration in addition to an online voter registration platform in 2020; c) General Elections on 12 August 2021 as per prescribed by the Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016,” stated Chimanse.

“As a public and independent body, the Commission will be bound by the Zambia Public
Procurement (Amendment) Act No. 15 of 2011 in regards to procuring of materials required to
conduct an electoral process that is credible. Therefore, international competitive bidding will
be adhered to and the Commission will not have any preferred bidder in view of following the
stipulated law. Local and foreign bidders alike qualify to compete in an international
competitive bidding process. The Commission endeavours to deliver an enhanced electoral process to the Zambian people and greater confidence in national systems. Further, as we enter the New Year the Commission looks forward to greater collaborations and support from stakeholders and the people of Zambia to deliver a better and inclusive electoral process.”