ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) corporate affairs manager Patricia Luhanga says the Commission has raised slightly above K2 million from nomination fees.
And Luhanga has insisted that the nomination fee is non-refundable and non-transferable.
ECZ had earlier announced that 20 presidential candidates had paid nomination fees.
However, out of the 20 candidates, only 16 candidates managed to successfully file in their nominations.
New Congress Party president Peter Chanda and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president Felix Mutati withdrew from the race, while All People’s Congress party leader Nason Msoni and independent presidential candidate Masuwa Kalabi failed to meet the required number of supporters.
And speaking on Hot FM’s breakfast show, Wednesday, Luhanga said the nomination fee was non-refundable and that the funds collected were to be used for logistical requirements.
“The nomination fee is non- refundable, it is equally non- transferable. If I fail to make it to the nominations, I cannot say that transfer this money, it doesn’t happen like that. We have been consistent in our communication. We have given this information to candidates, their political party agents who were running the processes on their behalf and we have taken them through all these processes. So, for it to come out that the Commission should refund, we find it quite awkward because we did our part to communicate what the requirements are. Let me take you to the numbers, 20 presidential candidates, two of them withdrew, 16 successfully managed to file in their nominations and they paid the money. Look at the success rate there, if you had maybe five who successfully managed to file in their nominations, you should have said probably there is a problem with the Electoral Commission of Zambia, but 16 were successful,” Luhanga said.
“We had slightly above K2 million, this money is meant to enable the logistical processes that relate to nomination. Remember there are quite a lot of processes that we implement as a commission, for instance each one of these Presidential candidates needs to have a register. Now we are talking about seven million people, think about how that document looks like. For us to be able to process the register and give it to the political parties and specifically the Presidential candidates. So, it is not that the money is really going to go into the ECZ coffers or go to treasury, it is meant to cover some of the logistical requirements. These logistical requirements are mainly for the political parties and their candidates and not even the Commission. Though everybody else is required to buy the register, successful political parties, their candidates are given this register out of the nominations fee that they pay.”
Luhanga stressed that the Commission had consistently been engaging political parties and had effectively informed the parties on the various requirements.
“The Commission has been very consistent in terms of engagement. Prior to the pre-processing of supporters, we had a political party liaison committee meeting at Mulungushi Conference Centre where participating candidates from political parties and independents were asked to send representatives. The commission walked all these representatives through the various recommendation’s requirements, this included the pre-processing of supporters. When we are talking about pre-processing of supporters, you know that from the historical point of view, political parties will ferry their cadres to Lusaka or their supporters to Lusaka where they come through during the nomination. This time around the commission went to the provisional centre where we set up our pre-processing centres and each candidate or political party candidate needed to bring 100 supporters to the centre,” she said.
“The process was of a convenient nature, because we realise that one; COVID has happened, secondly the cost of getting the supporters to Lusaka on the part of aspiring candidates. So, what we did as a commission because that was an administrative issue, aspiring candidates who didn’t amass the required numbers in that process were advised to bring their supporters to Lusaka. So, if a candidate had 800 supporters during the pre-processing, what [we] will tell them is ‘okay, bring the 200 to Lusaka, those are the ones who we will pre-process’, the 800 would have already pre-processed, so you are only required to bring the 200 now at your cost and whatever administrative issues that needed to happen. When we came to the nomination documentations, every candidate was advised, ‘you need to look at the requirements, do you meet the academic credentials? Are you of the required age? Do you have a voter’s card? Have you paid the non-refundable nomination fee’?”