ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano says it is unfortunate that some political party leaders have continued to talk about rigging when they know that it doesn’t happen.

Commenting on Hakainde Hichilema’s remarks that the elections should not be determined by those who count the votes but by the Zambian people, Nshindano said the election results would be a reflection of the citizens’ will.

He added that allegations of rigging undermine the credibility of polls as supporters think that their votes had been stolen when in fact not

“It’s unfortunate that some political leaders continue to accuse the commission of rigging, this is merely a narrative that suits them. The commission does not and will not rig any elections. Election results have and will be a reflection of the citizens’ will and the commission will ensure to defend the choice of the Zambian people regardless of who wins in line with our mandate. The commission has already shared the result management framework to the political parties and other stakeholders for them to understand and appreciate the processes involved. This will also be made public so that the general populace can equally know what happens. Allegations of rigging, unfortunately, undermine the credibility of polls by psyching the supporters to think the vote has been stolen when in fact not. This is why as a commission we will ensure that the general public is made aware of the full process as it pertains to results management,” Nshindano said.

“Therefore it’s really disappointing that political parties continue to talk about rigging when even they know that it doesn’t happen. Anyone duly accredited can conduct a parallel voter tabulation and will be able to compare with the official results. We urge the citizens to take time and appreciate the result management framework. This is available on our website to avoid being misled but also for them to be assured that their vote is protected and no one can manipulate that.”

Nshindano noted that political parties failed to invest in polling agents in order for them to understand the electoral process.

“One of the biggest weaknesses is that political parties fail to invest in polling agents both in terms of capacity to understand electoral processes but also to fully deploy to all polling stations. This time the commission has converted all streams to polling stations and we now have a total of 12,152 polling stations. The unique part is that the vote starts and ends at the polling station. The presiding officer for each polling station will count in the presence of party agents and other observers and announce the final result and issuance of G20 form,” explained Nshindano.

“All other processes after that are merely administrative to aggregate the vote for the respective elections. Kindly take note that the vote is done in a transparent manner where everyone can see the ballot box which is transparent and sealed with security seals and only opened in presence of political party agents at the end for counting. Further to this, a ballot paper reconciliation is also done against the votes cast.”