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“2016 elections less than credible”

Filed under: Breaking News,Politics |
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Judge Chulu

An electoral expert says the just ended August 11, 2016 general elections and national referendum fell short of being a credible elections due to a number of glaring electoral irregularities and malpractices omitted and/or committed by various electoral players.

McDonald Chipenzi, who joins a long list of stakeholders and observers both local and international in quetioning the credibility of the elections, says though the voting day was peaceful and a fair voter turnout was recorded, many variables during pre and post-voting periods militated and affected the credibility and legitimacy of these elections and the referendum.

“Some of variables were biased public media coverage, abuse of state resources as a result of continued illegal stay of ministers in office during the entire campaign period and controlling of all government and state machinery and intimidation and harassment of opponents by ruling party sympathizers especially in cosmopolitan and metropolitan towns,” Chipenzi said in a statement.

The former FODEP executive director observed that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) lacked the required manpower and logistical capacities and support to efficiently and adequately conduct five elections in one day.

“It was clear that most electoral officials, observers, monitors and political party agents were overcome with fatigue during critical stages of conducting the elections such as counting and tabulation of the results,” he noted. “This exposed the process of adding and/or tabulation of election results to possible manipulation or distortion due to either innocent human error mainly due to fatigue or deliberate manipulation.

“Therefore, after analyzing the entire electoral process, I come to conclude that these events culminated in serious questions regarding the legitimacy and credibility of the 2016 election and referendum results which was highly unfortunate as it created public contempt for the outcome of the elections as demonstrated by public reactions in some parts of the country.”

Chipenzi states that the public reaction of rejection of the election outcome also exhibited itself through the lack of genuine electoral celebrations which he says is another indicator of the measure of legitimacy and or lack of it of the 2016 general elections and referendum.

“The rejection and the pending presidential and referendum repetition in the Constitutional Court is another measure of the extent to which legitimacy of the 2016 elections and referendum has been questioned by political and referendum stakeholders.

“It is my well-considered and honest view that the 2016 General Elections and National referendum were not efficiently and successfully conducted.

“These elections and referendum failed to facilitate and guarantee the free expression of the will of the people regarding electing the leaders and government of their own choice and to exercise their true sovereign power through a referendum.”

He however paid tribute to the millions of Zambians who braved the morning cold and withstood frustrations and fatigue of standing long queues for abnormally long hours and the rudeness of some electoral staff and lack ushers at some polling stations in order to cast their vote for their leaders and also congratulated those who shunned voting in the referendum, which has led to its not meeting the required threshold for exercising their democratic rights.

He also praised political players for opting for legal redress as opposed to violence after feeling aggrieved.

“With the petitions now certain, it remains a biggest electoral test to the courts to salvage and uphold the little remaining electoral credibility credentials of the country of conducting free, fair and credible elections in the SADC region and African continent in general.”

 

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31