Stakeholders from different parts of the country have opposed the renaming of polling districts under the ongoing delimitation program that is being implemented by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), a CCMG report has revealed.
According to the report by the Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) for Free and Fair Elections as observed in the just ended ECZ district delimitation exercise, two chiefs in Nyimba District walked out of the delimitation meeting after learning that one of the proposals was to have a new constituency which would fall under a different chiefdom.
“On July 15, CCMG observers reported an incident during the delimitation sitting in Nyimba District. During the sitting, two chiefs walked out of the meeting after learning of the proposal to have a new constituency that would fall under a different chiefdom. The two chiefs were against the idea and believe that the new constituency should fall within their chiefdom to enhance the power of the chiefdom. They did not attend the remainder of the sitting and were reportedly drafting a petition on the matter,” CCMG disclosed in their report.
CCMG also reported that stakeholders in Masaiti District also walked out of a meeting in July after proposals to create four more constituencies in the district.
“On August 7, in Masaiti District, CCMG observers reported that some stakeholders walked out of the sitting due to proposals on the number of constituencies for the district. The stakeholders had proposed four constituencies to be created under Masaiti District on the first day of the sittings, however, the Member of Parliament for Masaiti Constituency proposed for the creation of only three constituencies on the second day of the sittings. This proposal caused tension among the stakeholders and a heated discussion ensued for thirty minutes, and later in the sitting stakeholders left the meeting,” the CCMG reported.
It further stated that tension arose in Mpongwe District after a named chief proposed to honor his late mother by naming one of the wards after her.
“On August 13, in Mpongwe District during the delimitation sitting, there was tension between stakeholders when a chief proposed to honor his late mother by naming one of the wards after her. The other stakeholders were against the name and the ECZ held a vote on the matter during the sitting. Ultimately the name proposed by the chief was not successful,” read the CCMG report.
And CCMG revealed that there was more tension in Mungu District after stakeholders proposed to change the name of Lealui Upper Polling district.
“On July 31, in Mongu District there was tension between stakeholders during the delimitation sitting related to the renaming of a polling district. Stakeholders proposed to change the name of Lealui Upper Polling District since there was another polling district named Lealui Lower Polling District. However, stakeholders disagreed on two proposed names (Winela Polling District or Sir Wwanawina Polling District). Arguments ensued and the ECZ intervened and resolved that since the change of name resulted in tension, the name of the polling district should remain unchanged,” disclosed CCMG.
Meanwhile, CCMG reported that some delimitation meetings in Isoka and Mufulila Districts were closed for a period of time due to prolonged disagreements.
CCMG stated that there were no accusations of attempts to delimiting constituency boundaries to give advantage to a political party.
It also observed that the ECZ provided adequate information to the public about the delimitation meetings.