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Injustices by ZEC causing unnecessary tension ahead with of the 2021 polls

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By Gerald Mulao

The new strategy of suppressing stakeholder views in the electoral process that has been developed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is worrying and very unfortunate.

The commission has shifted away from the usual consensus building scenario to a more aggressive dictatorial technic in a country said to be practicing democracy.

For instance, the commission published inhumane nomination fees against the submissions made by various political parties who are directly affected by these exorbitant fees.
Instead of engaging the political parties first ,ECZ decided to publish the fees in the media as official nomination fees for the 2021 elections without first consulting stakeholders.

The high cost of nomination fees automatically eliminates the youths, women and the differently abled from participating in the democratic process of their own country as these are vulnerable and may not afford to pay the imposed fees.

Elections demand that a level playing field is created but ECZ chose to ignore that and knelt on the neck of the many aspiring youths who have little or no resources and thereby hindering them to take part and participate in the democratic dispensation of their country and governance.

Secondly, the ECZ has moved to implement the High Court Judgment which was passed to allow prisoners to vote without ensuring that all grey areas in the implementation of this Judgment are taken care of.

What we have witnessed is ECZ rashing at the speed of light to ensure prisoners vote in 2021. Why?

Political parties who are major stakeholders in the process have given reasons to ECZ as to why that can not go ahead among them, access to prisons for campaigns because prisons are in the hands of the ruling PF and it will therefore give the ruling party an advantage over their opponents.

The prisons commissioner made it very clear that opposition political parties will not be allowed to access prisons for campaigns so how will they make decisions without hearing any messaging?

The other reason ECZ is giving is that they have no choice because it’s a High Court Judgement. Unfortunately that is not true, Zambia has witnessed many Judgements under the PF which have not been respected.

The Judgement which ordered ministers who stayed in office to pay the Salaries they got illegally has not been executed as we speak so what really is the rash with ECZ on prisoners voting?

Further, the ECZ has gone ahead to defranchise voters using the famous online registration System.

As efficient as it may sound, Zambia is far from implementating such a system less than eight months to the next crucial General election.

Firstly, 70 percent of the country’s population has no access to the internet or knowledge of internet use. 65 percent are poor and don’t own Android gadgets to access the ECZ online platform and that will mean only a small portion of our population will make it through this process.

Secondly, time allocated to register 9 million voters is not adequate considering the ECZ is completely deleting the old voters register to come up with a new one against the provisions of the law which provide for continued registration and not deletion of the voter’s register.

All this the ECZ has arrogantly bull dozed against the wishes of the majority stakeholders.

All what this injustice is breeding is unnecessary political tension ahead of the polls in 2021.

With all what is happening, one wonders if ECZ is working genuinely or if they have an invisible master who is pushing them to do wrong things to address a hidden agenda that we may not know.

The commission must desist from creating unnecessary tension even before we get to 2021.
We only have one country to live in.

God has stopped giving land, we need to go into 2021 as a United nation and not divided on the premises of disadvantaging other political parties.

Let me conclude by stating that prisoners voting is not possible under the current circumstances until when every aspect of this particular undertaking is taken care of.

The voter register should be maintained and only updated as provided by the law.

Elections should not divide us!

That which unites us is greater than that which divides us as Zambians.

One Zambia one nation!

Gerald Mulao

Stakeholder and concerned citizen.

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