Statement on elections by Christian Churches Monitoring Group

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CHRISTIAN CHURCHES MONITORING GROUP (CCMG)
For Free and Fair Elections
PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Wednesday 21st January 2015 as of 9:00hrs
1. Introduction
The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) comprises four faith based organisations
namely, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ),
the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) and the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC)
and with Caritas Zambia under ZEC. The Chief Executives of CCZ, EFZ, JCTR and ZEC serve as
CCMG’s Steering Committee and all of the monitors were carefully selected from these partner
organisations.
2. Summary
The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) deployed a total of 1,108 trained and
accredited monitors for the 2015 presidential elections: 105 roving monitors, 300 general monitors
and 703 PVT monitors. The PVT monitors were deployed to a carefully selected nationally
representative sample of 703 polling streams located at 501 polling stations in every province,
district and constituency of the country. PVT Monitors report immediately time by sending in
observer reports throughout the day via coded text messages.
This morning CCMG is sharing its preliminary findings on Election Day. Elections are, of course,
more than just Election Day. CCMG has been observing the process and has issued previous
statements raising concerns about: 1) unsubstantiated and alarming statements made by some
political leaders; 2) the unprecedented incidents of political violence; 3) possibility of candidates
making political deals in return for endorsements; and 4) the possibility of candidate’s securing
funding from dubious sources. These challenges may not compromise the credibility of the 2015
presidential election, but are issues that Zambians must discuss and address before the 2016
tripartite elections.
Based on reports from 651 (93%) of its PVT monitors located in every province, every district and
every constituency of the country, CCMG can confidently provide the most accurate independent
assessment of the quality of the process on Election Day. While the 2015 presidential elections had
some challenges, those problems that did occur on Election Day were isolated and did not
undermine the ability of Zambians to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Reports from our
PVT monitors suggest that turnout will generally be very low around 35% (though higher in some
parts of the country). CCMG applauds those Zambians who did go to the polls, but clearly elections
during the rainy season undermined citizen participation.
ZAMBIA Tel.: 01-262613 / Catholic Z E C
CCMG Preliminary Statement January 21st 2015
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On Election Day, CCMG’s PVT monitors reported that the vast majority of polling streams opened
on time and had all their necessary supplies. However, a small number of polling streams were not
able to open due to a lack of necessary materials. We hope voters at these polling stations are being
given an opportunity to cast their ballots. CCMG’s PVT monitors reported that at the vast majority
of polling streams polling officials adhered to the voting procedures. Finally, across Zambia
counting was conducted properly and in the presence of political party agents (predominantly from
PF and UPND) and monitors, and the results were posted for the public to see.
3. Setup of Polling Streams
As noted yesterday, across the country setup proceeded at the vast majority of polling streams
despite the rain. However, there was a small number of polling streams there were unable to open
on Election Day due to a lack of materials.
 CCMG PVT monitors reported that 96% of polling streams were open by 6:30hrs. There
were only 1% of polling streams that had not opened as of 9:00hrs.
 At 61% of polling streams PVT monitors reported that it had rained the night before.
 98% of polling streams were set up so that voters could mark their ballots in secret.
 At 99% of polling streams the ballot box was shown to be empty before it was closed and
sealed.
 99% of polling streams had indelible markers (for marking voter’s fingers).
 99% of polling streams had ballot papers.
 91% of polling streams had its official marks/stamps (for stamping ballot papers).
 97% of polling streams had voters’ registers.
 3% of polling streams had more than five (5+) polling officials, 15% of polling streams
had exactly five (5) polling officials, 76% of polling streams had four (4) polling officials
while just 6% of polling streams had three polling officials or fewer.
 48% of polling officials were women.
 27% of presiding officers were women.
 At 97% of polling streams there was a uniformed police or security personnel present.
 FDD had party agents at 37% of polling streams1.
 MMD had party agents at 34% of polling streams.
 PF had party agents at 89% of polling streams.
 UPND had party agents at 96% of polling streams.
 At 86% of polling streams both PF and UPND had party agents present.
4. Voting
Across the country polling officials at the vast majority of polling streams followed the prescribed
procedures.
 At 99% of polling streams an election official marked voters’fingers with indelible ink.
1 Due to limited space on the PVT monitor checklist questions were only asked about the four parties currently
represented in Parliament.
CCMG Preliminary Statement January 21st 2015
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 At 97% of polling streams an election official crossed out the names of voters from the voter’s register.
 At 99% of polling streams election officials stamped the ballot papers before issuing then to voters.
 At 24% of polling streams there were between 5 and 25 assisted voters and at 4% of polling streams there were more than 25 assisted voters.
 At 94% of polling streams pregnant women and nursing mothers were allowed to go to the front of the queue.
 At 95% of polling streams the physically disabled were permitted to go to the front of the queue.
 At 96% of polling streams no one or only a few people (less than five) were not allowed to vote despite having a National Registration Card (NRC) and a Voter’s Card.
 At 99% of polling streams no one was permitted to vote if they lacked either an NRC or a Voter’s Card.
 At 99% of polling streams no one or only a few people (less than five) were allowed to vote even though their names were not on the voters’ register.
 At 99% of polling streams no one was permitted to vote if they had indelible ink on their thumb/finger.
 At 1% of polling streams there were incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence against polling officials.
 At 1% of polling streams there were incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence against voters.
 At 2% of polling streams there were unauthorised persons present during voting.
 At 84% of polling streams there was no one in the queue at 18:00hrs
 At 96% of polling streams no one was allowed to join the queue after 18:00hrs
5. Counting
At polling streams across the country counting took place immediately after voting, in the presence of political party agents and monitors, and the official results were posted.
 At 98% polling streams all political party agents were permitted to observe the counting process.
 At all polling streams more than one political party agent was present and on average there were four political party agents present during counting.
 At 1% of polling streams there were incidents of intimidation or harassment of polling officials during counting.
 At 90% of polling stations there were party agents present for both the PF and UPND candidates.
 At 1% of polling stations a PF party agent refused to sign the official results form.
 At 1% of polling stations a UPND party agent refused to sign the official results form.
 At 99% of polling stations our CCMG PVT monitor agreed the ballot papers were counted correctly.
CCMG Preliminary Statement January 21st 2015
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6. Incidents
There were isolated cases of duly accredited CCMG monitors being denied access to polling streams by presiding officers. At nine polling stations CCMG monitors were initially not permitted to observe of which eight have since been resolved. There were also two instances where polling officials confiscated mobile phones from PVT monitors. While these incidents are of concern, they were not widespread and did not undermine the ability of citizens to observe their own elections.
7. Conclusion
For the vast majority of polling stations and polling streams, voting and counting have finished. At only a small number of polling stations (less than 1%) voting is being held today. No election is perfect, but the overwhelming evidence from CCMG’s PVT monitors in every province, every district, and every constituency strongly shows that despite the short time for preparations and the election being conducted during the rainy season the elections were conducted properly. The vast majority of polling streams opened, they had their necessary materials, voting proceeded according to the prescribed procedures, and counting was conducted properly in the presence of political party agents. Despite what may be a low turnout, Zambians should have confidence that the elections so far have been properly administered by the ECZ.
The 2015 presidential election, however, is not yet over. The ECZ is busy collating results from the 6,455 polling stations located across the country. CCMG will continue to monitor the process and will issue additional statements as warranted. CCMG calls on all Zambians regardless of their political affiliation to remain peaceful, and to give the ECZ the time it requires to collate the results and announce the winner of the presidential election.
This election has been highly contested. CCMG appeals to all candidates and political parties to publicly call for calm and restraint on the part of their supporters during the collation process and following the announcement of results. We appeal to all Zambians, regardless of their political affiliation, to remain peaceful and respect the rights of others.
Immediately after the ECZ announces the official results, CCMG will issue a statement providing independent verification of the ECZ’s official results for the presidential elections based on the PVT methodology. The PVT statement will be based on reports of the official results from a representative national sample of 703 polling streams located in 501 polling stations by CCMG’s trained and accredited PVT monitors. CCMG is conducting the PVT so that every Zambian can verify that the official results truly reflect the votes cast at polling stations.

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One Response to Statement on elections by Christian Churches Monitoring Group

  1. “For the vast majority of polling stations and polling streams, voting and counting have finished. At only a small number of polling stations (less than 1%) voting is being held today”

    This means that both PF and the UPND have their respective PVTs, and they know whether or not there candidate has won.

    Blago
    January 21, 2015 at 10:57 pm
    Reply

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