Politics

AU, SADC, Carter Center & Other Observers Declare Zambia Polls Free & Fair

Election ObserversThe international observer missions have given the Zambian elections a thumbs-up as results continue trickling in from the national totalling centre at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

During a joint media briefing at the Intercontinental Hotel, the nine member consortium of observers declared the Zambian elections generally free and fair.

Among the organizations are the African Union, SADC, COMESA, Commonwealth, EISA, Carter Centre and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

Presenting the AU position former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan said the observers were satisfied with the manner the Zambian elections were held.

“The AU concludes that that the elections have been conducted in a peaceful atmosphere within the framework that satisfactorily meets the continental and regional principles of democratic elections,” Jonathan said.

“The AU encourages all parties to resort to legally established channels should there be a dispute on the outcome of the process.”

The observers criticized the move to hold the referendum alongside the general elections.

He said the significance of the referendum was lost in the mix up with general elections.

Jonathan however noted that the media in Zambia was highly polarized.

“The security of journalists was identified as an area of concern by interlocutors from both public and private owned newspapers, forcing some media houses to send junior or less known reporters to cover political rallies secretly out of fear,” he said.

“All stakeholders engaged agreed that the media environment in Zambia remains highly polarized and partisan.”

They also criticized the police for the manner the public order act was administered.

And Commonwealth Observer Mission leader Jakaya Kikwete noted that the incidents of violence reported were unfortunate.

The count is still going on with 29 constituencies with Edgar Lungu leading with 262, 149 while Hichilema is on 243, 794.

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