United Party for National Development (UPND) secretary general Stephen Katuka has urged newly appointed Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano to restore the institution’s credibility.

And the National Democratic Congress has urged Nshindano to resist political influence.

On Tuesday, ECZ finally announced that Nshindano was replacing Chomba Chella who separated from the commission for “personal reasons”.

Commenting on this in a statement, Wednesday, Katuka noted that Nshindano was joining the commission at a very critical time.

“The UPND welcomes the appointment of Mr.Patrick Nshindano as the new Chief Elections Officer at the Electoral Commission of Zambia(ECZ). Having known and interacted with Mr. Nshindano at various civil society engagements, we are very optimistic that he will deliver in his new mandate. We remain optimistic that his character and experience as an advocate of good governance will turn around the fortunes of the Electoral Commission of Zambia(ECZ) in regaining public confidence. The UPND wishes to advise the new Elections Chief to take a holistic approach to matters of elections in the country and regain public confidence in an organization that remains the pinnacle of our country’s democracy and its values,” stated Katuka.

“Mr. Nshindano’s appointment comes at the time when the organization needs to retain it’s credibility which has eroded in the recent past in the eyes of the political players and the general public. Once again on behalf of the UPND and indeed on my own behalf,I wish to congratulate Mr. Nshindano and ask him to hit the ground running in terms of elections management, voter registration and retention of public confidence.”

And NDC member of the central committee Menyani Zulu urged Nshindano to resist political interference.

“The National Democratic Congress NDC congratulates Patrick Nshindano on his appointment as Electoral Commission of Zambia ECZ boss. We urge Mr. Nshindano to quickly get settled and get to work. The task ahead of him is mammoth. As NDC, we urge the new ECZ boss to exhibit the highest levels of responsibility and professionalism in his new appointment. This appointment is extremely sensitive and critical. Mr. Nshindano should endeavour not to engage in any form of political patronage. In the next 24 months, Zambians will be going to the 2021 general elections. The 2021 polls will be extremely crucial as Zambians are too eager for regime change,” Zulu wrote in a separate statement.

“Mr. Nshindano should therefore ensure that the 2021 polls are held in a free, fair and transparent manner. The peace that Zambia has upheld should continue even after 2021. Any carelessness on the part of the ECZ might have serious repercussions on the country’s peace and stability. The ECZ does not have a good reputation on how it conducts elections. We urge Mr. Nshindano to clean up ECZ particularly in the ICT department.”

Zulu also urged Nshindano to intensify voter education.

“Further, we urge the new ECZ chief to ensure that voter education is upped. In the recent past, we have witnessed voter apathy in several by-elections that the country has held. Lastly, we urge Mr. Nshindano to urgently meet stakeholders. Mr. Nshindano should meet political party groupings and civil society organisations to discuss salient issues. The new ECZ boss should also meet the respective management’s at state owned media houses. As NDC, we have reservations on the conduct of government media houses on the manner they cover opposition political parties,” stated Zulu.