Today, so many Zambians are questioning the credibility and independence of one of our most important governance and constitutional institution, The Electoral Commission of Zambia.
People are trying to seek answers as to whether, in it’s current form and structure, ECZ is toothless or just useless..
The creation of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, through an act of parliament was crafted and created in gone faith, to be a professional, unbiased and non partisan adjudicator of the electoral process, before, during and after any elections.
It was crafted and created in good faith, to be an independent and autonomous body to be presided over by honorable, unbiased and distinguished men and women, as Chairpersons and Commissioners.
THAT WAS THEN.
Distinguished Chairpersons who could easily tell and distinguish that a small village of Chitulika in Mpika can’t qualify to be a Constituency.
Distinguished and professional Commissioners who could be unbiased and unquestionable electoral adjudicators..
THAT WAS THEN.
Apart from deriving their electoral adjudication powers and
mandate as contained in the ACT of parliament, Commissioners in their own wisdom, THAT TIME, came up with the Electoral Code of Conduct to moderate the good conduct of all stakeholders through out the election process.
The ECZ Electoral Code of Conduct, in order to gain and acquire some legal relevance and backing passed through the constitutional provisions of Statutory Instrument No. 52 of 2011.
So the Electoral Code of Conduct is in its current form legally binding and enforceable at law on all the stakeholders.
So why is the ECZ not taking advantage as to invoke some of the available legal provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct as stipulated like:
DUTIES OF THE MEDIA: A public television, radio and electronic media shall allocate PUBLIC AIR TIME EQUALLY to ALL political parties and candidates for their political broadcast and activities.
DUTIES OF THE ECZ COMMISSION:
– To ensure that political parties DO NOT USE State resources like vehicles to campaign for the benefit of the party or candidate.
– Refrain Police from disrupting (as in Kaputa) any campaign, rallies or meetings legally authorized and convened by any political party.
– Ensure that a political campaign rally or meeting which is legally organized by any political party is not disrupted or arbitrarily prohibited by the anyone.
The above are just some of the very few legal provisions available and enshrined in the Electoral Commission of Zambia, by an Act of parliament and the Statutory Instrument to do with the smooth conduct of elections.
The Electoral Code of Conduct also provides for penalties to persons, in their individual capacities and any institutions, like ZNBC or the Police service for contravening the Electoral Regulations..
So what is the problem with the current ECZ establishment and conduct of the Commissioners that has generated all the lack of confidence and misgivings by the majority Zambians.
Is the current Electoral Commission of Zambia Toothless or just Useless?
With this overwhelming and evidently ever growing public vote of NO confidence in our Electoral Body, the best us the Zambians can do is to support and advocate for NOT the Discarding of the current Voters Register BUT for the Discarding of the current ECZ Chairperson and his Commissioners.