By ZR Reporter
And EIU has stated in its report that public confidence in judicial independence in the country has weakened by controversial court rulings.
The United Kingdom based Unit has added that voter confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia is also low prior to the 2016 elections which the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) believe were flawed.
“Public confidence in judicial independence in Zambia has been weakened by controversial court rulings (such as the one in 2018, which entitled Mr Lungu to stand for a third term without breaching the country’s two-term limit) that are often perceived by opponents to favour the ruling party and the president. After the disputed elections in 2016, which returned Mr Lungu and the PF to power (and which the UPND believes it was cheated out of victory in), voter confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia is also low. The Economist Intelligence Unit continues to forecast that the PF and Mr Lungu will be able to use their control of the security services (which have long had a partisan bias in favour of the ruling party) and their substantial incumbency advantages from control over state institutions to secure another victory in 2021,” the report read.
Commenting on next year’s general elections which are scheduled for August 12, EIU expects the country to have endured months of political and economic turmoil.
The Unit expects the upcoming elections to be neither free nor fair.
“Zambia’s legislative and presidential elections are scheduled to take place on August 12th 2021. By the time that the elections are held, we expect Zambia to have endured months of political and economic turmoil, and economic contraction will limit the fiscal resources available for government patronage networks, forcing the PF into a more openly authoritarian position. We expect the upcoming elections to be neither free nor fair, with the opposition competing against a PF exploiting substantial incumbency advantages. These include a drive to create a new electoral roll to replace the 2005 voter register, which the opposition claims will bias the register in favour of voters living in government strongholds. This is likely to yield only a low turnout owing to the opposition’s diminished political capital and the risk of repression from state forces,” read the report.
And the Unit has noted that the ruling PF of failing to change the country’s constitution.
“A controversial bid to amend Zambia’s constitution ahead of the presidential and legislative elections in 2021 by the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party has failed to reach the threshold of 111 votes (which is two-thirds majority) in the Zambian parliament it required to become law. Legal challenges to the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 had previously been blocked by the country’s Constitutional Court, leaving the country’s parliament as the last forum where it could be blocked. Since its introduction the bill had sparked accusations from the Zambian opposition that it was a bill aimed at entrenching the ruling party and the country’s president, Edgar Lungu, in power,” read the report.