ACTION Aid Zambia country director Nalucha Ziba says conceding defeat should not only be a demand made of the opposition parties but the PF as well.
And Ziba has warned that Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should handle election results expeditiously because unnecessary delays will cause tensions.
In a statement, Ziba said the consequences of a poorly managed electoral process were too ghastly to contemplate.
She added that COVID-19 regulations should not be used to deny legitimately accredited monitors from undertaking their roles.
“As Zambia heads to the polls this Thursday, we would like to urge and remind each and every citizen of required age to participate and exercise their democratic right by voting. On the supply side of the democratic process, the need for electoral integrity—particularly by line institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), and the law enforcement community cannot be overemphasized,” Ziba said.
“The consequences of a poorly managed electoral process are too ghastly to contemplate and, in some countries, have led to civil strife, economic misfortune, and worse. As an organization, we are of the considered view that the COVID 19 guidelines should not be used to deny legitimately accredited monitors from undertaking their roles at polling stations.”
Ziba further urged ECZ to ensure that they handle election results management expeditiously as unnecessary delays could cause tensions.
“ECZ should assure stakeholders that they have adequately prepared for eventualities and emergencies, including power outages, actual or attempted malpractice, and violent interference with the exercise. There should be no abuse of the facility when aiding the physically challenged voters and those who may want assistance. Strict measures should be put in place so that those assisted retain their right to vote. Election results management should be handled expeditiously as unnecessary delays will stoke tensions in what is already a high stakes election,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ziba noted that conceding defeat should not be a demand made of the opposition parties, but the PF as well.
“We, therefore, call for commitment from all players, including the ruling party, that they will accept the results of a free, fair and just election. Conceding defeat should not be a demand made of the opposition parties, but the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) as well. The PF is going into this election like any other party with the possibility of two outcomes–a win or a loss. Therefore, it is not sufficient for the incumbent, Edgar C Lungu, to ask international observes to convince opposition leaders to accept the outcome of the elections; he himself has to publicly commit to this undertaking,” said Ziba
“Lastly, we urge the ECZ to manage this election in a transparent manner by ensuring the functionality of all tools, ranging from the analogue to the advanced digital equipment and skilled personnel. The ECZ is duty bound to create an enabling environment for local monitors, national and international observers to enable them effectively play their roles.”