Veteran politician Sikota Wina has advised government not to reform electoral laws to avoid tension in 2021.
Reacting to the current electoral tension in Malawi following the recently held general elections, and the chaos in Zimbabwe before then, Wina said the Zambian government should learn from situations in both countries by not looking to bring in extra measures in the conduct of elections.
“I really pray that the state is run completely as normal as possible as it is being run now without introducing any new rules on the governance of elections or any new regulations in order to handle the elections…,” Wina said.
“Let the government not try to bring new regulations and measures, as these are the complications that always tend to raise suspicion. That will be the main problem if government starts to lay out regulations on how political parties should conduct themselves in an election then we are going to have a problem.”
He recalled that Dr Kenneth Kaunda never used extra measures during elections in 1991 despite the country being a one party state that time.
“We didn’t have electoral violence, he was never tempted to bring in extra measures in order to ensure the ruling party wins the elections. He said ‘let the people decide who they want to rule them’,” Wina recalled.
He said most African governments tended to fear change during general elections, which then caused some tension in the electoral process.
“I think part of the problem is that governments, during elections, get so jittery and they tend to oppose people who are supposed to stand for various reasons. If governments were just as fair and open, election time is just like any other time, ive citizens there full [rights] irrespective of what political party they are [representing], we would have very few problems in Africa,” said Wina.
“Every time elections come, either some people are banned from [contesting] or you find that regulations have changed…it is these changes and jitteriness that make elections not secure in Africa. If only government could be as calm and steady as usual and just run the affairs as usual without putting any extra regulations, we would have no catastrophes in African nations.”