VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina has urged political parties and other stakeholders to exhaust local channels for the settlement of election disputes before engaging regional or international bodies.
And Vice-President Wina says government is not pleased to see its people suffering or experiencing the rise in the cost of living, adding that it’s doing everything possible to ensure that citizens’ livelihoods are improved.
She was speaking in Parliament, Friday, during the Vice-President’s question time.
Chama South PF member of parliament Davison Mung’andu asked whether government was aware that the UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema had written to the African Union and SADC over the “unfair manner” in which the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) conducted the voter registration exercise.
In response, Vice-President Wina said government had not yet been notified on whether SADC and the AU received the said letters from the UPND leader.
She however, noted that ECZ provides a platform for the settlement of election disputes, and further encouraged stakeholders to exhaust the local channels before engaging regional or international bodies.
“Mr Speaker, I wish to remind the House that the Electoral Commission of Zambia provides a platform for the settlement of election disputes. Zambia’s membership to the regional bodies including SADC and AU entail that as a sovereign State, it will adhere to the prescribed principles utilising the internal structures within its governance architecture. All stakeholders including political parties would therefore be encouraged to exhaust these channels, before engaging regional and international bodies. I wish to state that government has not been notified whether SADC and the AU had received the said letters from the UPND leader,” Vice-President Wina said.
“Mr Speaker, during the 2016 general elections, Zambia commended the UPND for mobilising people in its strongholds to register as voters. The party secured 80 percent registered voters, neither PF or any other Zambian political party at that time complained to the regional and international bodies. So, what has changed now? In 2020 the PF MPs worked very hard and were on the ground mobilising people to register. The outcome is what we are witnessing today.”
Vice-President Wina further assured the nation that government would see to it that the forthcoming general elections were conducted in accordance with the principles and guidelines governing elections.
She added that government was in the process of sending invitations to relevant organisations to participate as election observers.
“The government of his Excellency, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia remains committed to the principles of respect for human rights, democracy, good governance, accountability, transparency and the rule of law as enshrined in the Zambian Constitution. Further, the Zambian government is committed to the adherence of the SADC principles and guidelines governing elections and the African Union guidelines for elections observation and monitoring missions. I therefore, want to assure the House and the nation at large that the PF government will ensure that the forthcoming general elections are conducted in accordance with the aforementioned principles, and that a level playing field exists for all political players,” Vice-President assured.
“Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the process of sending out invitations to relevant organisations including SADC, COMESA, Commonwealth and the African Union to participate as election observers in the forthcoming general elections. The tradition of involving foreign observer missions in an electoral process, which the PF government has upheld since 2011, serves as a strong demonstration of the PF government’s commitment to upholding democratic tenets.”
And Vice-President Wina said government was not pleased to see its people suffering or experiencing the rise in the cost of living.
She added that they were doing everything possible to ensure that the livelihoods of Zambians were improved.
“This government is not pleased to see its people suffer or experience the rise in the cost of living, because this affects the most vulnerable people in our society. Therefore, government is doing everything possible to ensure that the cost of living is taken care of through the many policies that government is putting in place. This starts with the food commodities. Government is working with millers to ensure that the staple food, which is mealie meal, is readily available to the Zambian people, and that the cost of mealie meal should be reduced so as other commodities that seem to impact negatively on the lives or livelihoods of Zambians. So definitely the government is not pleased and is doing something to ensure that the livelihoods of Zambians are improved,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina assured the people that the country had enough fuel stock.
“Mr Speaker, all we know is that fuel shortage was experienced for a day or two when the fuel tanker drivers had downed tools. As of now, with regards to the reported fuel shortages in some parts of the country, I would like the House to be informed that the situation has since normalised. The country has enough stock of fuel. Currently the country has 10 days stock of diesel and 11 days stock of petrol as of April 6, 2021. Of course we would like to see this being increased. The engaged suppliers have continued to import petrol and diesel on behalf of the Ministry of Energy. The oil marketing companies have continued to import under the waiver that has been given to them,” said Vice-President Wina.