ELECTIONS Day Preliminary findings have revealed that at two percent of polling stations, CCMG monitors reported that a few individuals, one to five, were allowed to vote even though they did not have both an NRC and voters ID card or already had indelible ink on their fingers or their names were not on the voter’s register.
The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) reports that at three percent of polling stations, voting was suspended at some point during the day.
Revealing the preliminary findings on the 2021 General Elections, Friday, CCMG steering committee chairperson Fr Emmanuel Chikoya said there were also reports of polling stations running out of ink for the official stamp as well as indelible ink that may have delayed the voting process.
“At over 99% of polling stations, the basic voting procedures were adhered with: voters’ fingers being checked for indelible ink; voters being required to show their NRC and Voter ID card; polling officials checking for voters names in the voters register; polling officials stamped the presidential ballot paper before issuing it to voters; and voters’ fingers were marked with indelible ink. However, there were reports of polling stations running out of ink for the official stamp as well as indelible ink that may have delayed the voting process. At 3% of polling stations, voting was suspended at some point during the day,” Fr Chikoya said.
“At 97% of polling stations, no one voted who appeared not to be eligible, while at 2% of polling stations, CCMG monitors reported that a few individuals (one to five) were allowed to vote, even though they did not have both an NRC and voter ID card or already had indelible ink on their fingers or their names were not on the voters’ register. At 6% of polling stations, the setup allowed polling officials and/or party agents to see how voters marked their ballots.”
Fr Chikoya further said polling locations with multiple polling stations posed challenges for voters as it was not clear which polling station they were assigned to.
“Polling locations with multiple polling stations have long posed challenges for voters as it may not be clear to voters which is their assigned polling station. This issue was exacerbated for this election as 907 of the 12,152 polling stations had duplicate names. VVDs were used at approximately 13% of polling stations with the devices most common in Lusaka and Western provinces. While VVDs could potentially have played a role directing voters to the correct polling station, their late introduction served to raise predominantly confusion and concerns about their use on Election Day,” he said.
Fr Chikoya added that all presidential ballot papers were counted according to ECZ procedures at 97 percent of polling stations.
“PF party agents were present for the counting of ballot papers at 98% of polling stations while UPND party agents at 99% of polling stations. Ballot papers were counted at the polling station 98% of the time. At 10% of polling stations there was insufficient light during counting making counting the ballots more challenging. At 98% of polling stations the presidential ballot papers were shown to all party agents and monitors present so they could see how each ballot paper was marked. At 90% of polling stations the presidential ballot papers were sorted into individual piles by candidate. At 97% of polling stations, all of the presidential ballot papers were counted according to ECZ procedures. At less than 1% of polling stations did a PF or UPND party agent disagree with the presidential results,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Fr Chikoya stated that reports of internet access being limited on election day undermined transparency of the election process.
“There were numerous reports of internet access being limited on Election Day. The global internet monitor NetBlocks confirmed that social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and messaging apps Messenger and WhatsApp were restricted on multiple internet providers. Such internet shutdowns undermine transparency of the election process and curtail the right of voters to receive information about the elections,” said Fr Chikoya.
“Further, we encourage all Zambians to remain calm during the tabulation of results, and we call on all political parties to avoid any actions that could heighten tensions as the official results are announced and to resolve any potential electoral disputes through peaceful means and legal processes. We also encourage the security forces to carry out their duty in an impartial manner without favor to anyone.”
CCMG’s preliminary findings are based on reports from a nationally representative sample of 1,500 polling stations located in every province, district and constituency of the country as of 12:00 on August 13.