As a nation there are serious lessons we can draw from what has happened in Kenya.
1. The Kenyan judges have affirmed what we have always been saying, that elections are a PROCESS and NOT an EVENT thus the outcome of an election is usually affected by what happens in the pre-election phase and not necessarily what happens on the polling day. Rigging of an election must not be attributed to just what happens on the actual polling day but to everything that happens throughout the pre-election phase. For this reason, we must always advocate for levelling of the electoral field by ensuring among others equal, fair and balanced coverage of all political parties especially by the public media as demanded for in Article 50 of our Republican Constitution; fair application of the Public Order Act; Reviewing of the Republican Constitution as well as the Electoral Process Act No.35 of 2016 to strengthen the independence of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and improve its efficiency to ensure the delivery of free, fair and credible elections.
2. We must reform our Judiciary to root out political interference and corruption as far as judgments and delivery of justice is concerned. We must demand for clear separation of powers and the independence of our governance institutions such as the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission of Zambia, the Zambia Police and others. Equally, we must demand a review of the role and effectiveness of the Judicial Complaints Commission. In its current form, the Judicial Complaints Commission is a moribund institution that is serving the interests of the judges and not the interests of the public.
3. We need to steamline and devise a clear system in which a presidential election petition must be handled to avoid a miscarriage of justice through the abuse of technical legal jargons or lacunas in the Constitution. Further, we need to review our Republican Constitution to put a clear time frame within which election petitions in this case, parliamentary petitions must be disposed of. We have cases such as the cases of Ms. Nkandu Luo and Ms. Margaret Mwanakatwe whose seats have been nullified by the High Court yet they continue to operate as MPs because there is no time frame indicating clearly when these cases will be concluded. These cases may go on and on till 2021.
In conclusion, the nullification of Uhuru Kenyatta’s election has again put so called international elections observers in bad light. It is a reminder that you cannot sit in a plush hotel room in the capital city of a foreign state for two weeks or two days as an observer and claim that elections are free and fair without putting into serious consideration the happenings in the pre-election phase. That is an insult to the intelligence of the electorates.
Issued by Antonio Mwanza, FDD Deputy National Secretary and Party Spokesperson.
Antonio Mourinho Mwanza