ECONOMIC Freedom Fighters (EFF) has threatened to sue the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) if the voter registration exercise is not extended.
In a letter of intent to the Commission, signed by party secretary general Changala Siame and president Kasonde Mwenda, the party urged ECZ to abide by the law and do the right thing by extending the registration period to more than 30 days.
“Cognizant of the respectable record the Commission has of having delivered five (5) General Elections (in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016), two (2) Presidential Elections (in 2008 and 2015) and several National Assembly and Local Government by-elections, the ECZ should not undo the good legacy that has been created over time by doing giving the Zambian people an atrocious voters register. We therefore petition the Electoral Commission of Zambia-ECZ to abide by the Law and do the right thing by extending the election period to more than 30 days so that enough people register to vote. To this effect the Economic Freedom fighters will be instituting a Judicial Review in the High Court of Zambia against the this Procedural Impropriety and Unreasonableness regarding registration of voters,” read the letter.
“The Commission is further advised to ensure that the Electoral code of conduct is enforced by ensuring that the Public Media is made available to all political parties and not just a mouth piece of the party in government the Patriotic Front PF and abuse of public media (blatant exclusion of opposition political party from coverage) such as ZNBC by the Patriotic Front PF. We will also seek judicial review to this regard in the High Court of Zambia.”
EFF expressed concern that the nine million voter target would not be reached due to limited time coupled with the onset of the rainy season.
“Cognizant of the commission’s resolve to discard the old Voters Register which had a record 6 698 372 Registered Voters collected from 10 Provinces, 116 Districts, 156 Constituencies, 1624 Wards, 7700 Polling Stations and have it replaced by a new voter register to be comprised of 9 million voters in readiness for the 2021 General elections; we are alive to the fact that this target will not be met in the remaining three days before the registration exercise closes on 12th December 2020 because in over 25 days the commission has only managed to register 4, 321, 319 (as at 7th December 2020) voters remaining with over 4 million prospective voters against the 9 million target. The time is too short and the rainy season has made this process hard,” the letter read.
“We are mindful that the ECZ is a cardinal entity in creating a democratic nation and thus should be preserved as an independent and autonomous body free from interference from any institution as is mandated in the Sec 4(1) of The Electoral Process Act, 2016: – ‘the Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the exercise of its functions under the Constitution and this Act’. Nonetheless the ACT in Sec (3) (a) guides that the commission shall conduct elections in a ‘transparent and CREDIBLE process.’ The Economic Freedom Fighters –EFF on behalf of the people of Zambia, is concerned that the path taken to register new voters and discarding the old register falls short of being credible as Sec 3(a) of THE ELECTORAL PROCESS ACT, 2016 guides.”
They stated that the party was aggrieved that the Commission had failed to execute it’s mandate of ensuring all political parties were fairly covered by public media.
“The Economic Freedom Fighters EFF on behalf of the Zambian people is aggrieved that the Electoral Commission of Zambia has been failing to do its mandate to ensure that the Electoral code of Conduct (Code of Conduct) Regulations, 2006 Sec 8 (1) which states that ‘A public television, radio and electronic media shall allocate public air time equally to all political parties and candidates for their political broadcasts. (2) The Commission shall prescribe the amount of air time in any given language on public television or radio to be allocated to a political party or candidate.’,” read the letter.
EFF, however, expressed hope that it was not too late to right the wrongs.
“In the interest of democracy and good governance, the Economic Freedom Fighters-EFF pledges to continue engaging your esteemed office as we seek to develop our country through delivery of Economic Emancipation to the people of Zambia. We have hope that refuses to die and we believe Zambia will be made a great nation if we unite and work hard together. We believe it is not too late to right the wrongs and open a new page of excellence. Wherever we want to go our feet shall take us there,” read the letter.