And the CCMG says the presidential petition remains unresolved and that public confidence in the Constitutional Court has been ‘negatively affected; the petitioners have not had their grievances addressed; and the respondents have not had the opportunity to respond to the petitioners’ allegations’.
The CCMG explained that , two Polling station level results were posted on the ECZ website for 7,679 (99.7%) of the 7,000 polling stations. There are 21 polling stations whose linked webpages provides data for a polling station with the same name, but in a located in a different constituency.
The CCMG further said it noted concerns related to: unbalanced coverage of the state media; efforts to close The Post newspaper; questions about the procurement of ballot papers; and the failure of government ministers to resign their posts upon the dissolution of parliament. The Church group said these issues represent a step backwards for the country and serve to undermine our political institutions and advancements recorded in the past.
But shockingly, and in clear contradiction of itself, the CCMG says the ECZ’s results for the 2016 presidential election were consistent with CCMG’s PVT estimates providing independent empirical evidence that the results as announced by the ECZ at Mulungushi Conference Centre in Lusaka reflected the ballots cast at the 10,818 polling streams located at 7,700 polling stations.
The CCMG, challenged the constitutional court to provide all sides of the 2016 election petition challenge with a fair and full hearing in accordance with the best practices of due process of law.
The Monitoring Group says the curt should give the petition an impartial determination should the evidence demonstrate that remedies are required that its judgment provide effective remedies to redress the circumstances.
Speaking during the launch of 2016 elections report, CCMG Chairperson Suzanne Matale has called for all to respect the judicial independence of the court and refrain from applying any political pressure on the proceedings.
Rev. Matale has also called on all parties to provide the court with evidence and respect its process while pursuing a just result by peaceful means.
She says the group conducted a comprehensive review of pre-election environment and raised concerns about serious flaws in the electoral environment while not negating the possibility for the overall process to be credible, represented a step backwards for the country.
They further say in highly contested elections, results present very slim margins f differences in votes won such flaws become more important.
Other members of the Christian Church’s Monitoring Group -CCMG include general secretary Susanne Matale, EFZ Executive Director Pukuta Mwanza, JCTR Executive Director Leonard Chiti and ZEC president Cleophas Lungu.
The European Union in November made 26 recommendation that included; a detailed review of the electoral legal framework and redrafting of unclear, ambiguous and conflicting provisions; the removal of overly restrictive limitations of freedom of assembly in the Public Order Act; publication of individual polling station results for all elections in a timely manner, and an end of the de facto subdivision of polling stations into polling streams; an assessment of the results management system for accuracy, timeliness and transparency; clarification of the rules and procedures for complaints, for local, parliamentary and presidential elections; transformation of ZNBC into a public service broadcaster with full editorial independence from government, and enhanced oversight of the ECZ of the public media.