Speaking during the first Political Party Liaison Meeting of 2020 that was held at the Commission Headquarters in Lusaka, Commission Chairperson, Justice Esau E. Chulu, said the Commission was concerned with the relationships among political parties during campaign periods where leaders were in the forefront in promoting violence and perpetrating hate speech that led to unnecessary misconduct.
The Chairperson urged the political parties to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct that provided guidelines to all stakeholders, in maintaining a peaceful and inclusive electoral environment, where all had equal space.
He cautioned the Police to be professional as they carried out their duties, and to ensure that all parties are accorded equal treatment as provided in the electoral Code of Conduct. The Chairperson further stated that the Commission was committed to ensuring that it manages the elections in a credible, impartial and transparent manner.
The Commission will also continue to address any challenges that political parties may be facing.
“We remain open to all interested stakeholders to engage with the
Commission on issues that may concern them, including clarifications where need be, in a bid to be inclusive and to enhance our electoral process. The
Commission, however, will at no point relegate its constitutional mandate, but will continue to strive towards becoming a model electoral management body and be fair in the execution of its mandate,” he explained.
The main objective of the meeting was to provide an update to stakeholders on various electoral issues that the Commission was undertaking in preparation for the 2021 General Elections, which included the delimitation exercise; printing of ballot papers; registration of voters; results management, prisoners’ voting and the enforcement of the Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Regulations.
One of the issues which was extensively discussed during the meeting was the proposal by the Commission to produce a new Voters’ Register that targeted
nine million voters for the 2021 General Elections.
However, stakeholders expressed concerns over the creation of a new register because of the limited time and the cost of implementing such a comprehensive exercise.
The Commission therefore proposed to consider the proposal made by the stakeholders to update the existing voters register instead of producing a new register.
Stakeholders also appealed to the Commission to review its decision to stop sponsoring political parties to observe the printing of ballot papers.
They indicated that this would enhance transparency and credibility of the electoral process.
Nevertheless, the Commission encouraged the stakeholders to explore this issue further, including jointly seeking support from Cooperating Partners as there was no funding for this activity.
The meeting was well attended by most political parties with representation by party presidents, and secretary generals among others.
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