EUROPEAN Union chief observer Maria Arena says the observer mission has no interest in who is going to win the elections but simply wants to observe Zambia’s commitment to the democratic process.
Speaking to the media, Thursday, Arena said the observer mission stood on a strong foundation and could not interfere with Zambia’s electoral process.
“We have a very strong foundation and the foundation at the European site is based on three very important pillars. The first one is independence, and it is really important for us to be independent from different stakeholders in the country, but also independent at the international site also. The second pillar that is important is to be impartial. And so we have no interest in who is going to win this election,” she said.
“For us what is really important is to observe the commitment that Zambia has on the democratic process. And this is what we are observing for the interest of the Zambian people. The third pillar is impartiality, so it is really important for us to have a very strong foundation and not to interfere in the Zambian process. For me as chief observer, these three pillars are the most important to guarantee the credibility of the work of our people here and observers in the country.”
Arena disclosed that more than 62 people from the observer mission had been deployed to different polling stations countrywide.
“Today we have more than 62 people deployed around the country in the polling stations to conduct these observations on the E-day but it is not the only observation we are doing. Of course, it is a long-term observation. E-day is very important and for us E-day we have to observe that Zambian people can democratically cast their vote and this is really important for Zambian people,” she said.
“During this E-day, we have been at the opening of the polling station and also will be there at the closing at 6 o’clock or perhaps a little bit more than 6 o’clock once the counting starts. So it is really a long day for the Zambian people and we have seen how it is not so easy to organize and to be there at the polling station.”
Arena said it was difficult to give a general outlook of the observation so far as more information needed to be received from other polling stations.
“We have at least 62 people around the country and we will collect all this information during the day. So it is difficult now to tell you what we have observed here in this polling station because if I say that, you will say everything is the same as what we have observed here and perhaps different in other parts of the country. I don’t want to give you my personal impression of what I have seen here because we need to have more information about what is happening around the country. However, what I have seen here is that Zambians are committed to voting and they are patient in the queue. So it is really a positive sign coming from the Zambian people that they are really attached to their democratic right to vote,” said Arena.