ECZ says ZNBC, Times, Mail just support PF

Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson, Justice Ireen Mambilima, has observed that the public media have been abrogating the Electoral Code of conduct as it provides unbalanced coverage of news among political parties.
Speaking during a youth conference against electoral malpractice and violence under the theme, Support Peaceful Elections, Justice Mambilima noted that the public media have been biased towards the ruling party as observed in the 2006 and 2011 general elections.
She noted that even during the nominations for the Chipata Central Constituency  by elections last Thursday, the public media covered the ruling PF while the opposition political parties were not covered.
Justice Mambilima said that the national broadcaster, ZNBC, only aired
the filing in of nominations by the PF candidate, Lameck Mangani, and not
the other four parliamentary hopefuls.
She stated that the ECZ intends to discuss the matter with ZNBC and noted that it was unfair for the media to show biasness towards one political party.
She, however, stated that the ECZ has not been experiencing such problems with the private media.
Meanwhile, Justice Mambilima has called on youths to promote peaceful elections as they go to the polls on July 25, 2013.
Justice Mambila said youths have a role to play to ensure elections are held in a conducive environment in the district by refraining from engaging in violent activities which could influence apathy.
She said the commission has notice that most youths are vulnerable as they are used as tools of violence during elections.
“You should not allow them to use you to settle their political scores. They cannot allow their children to engage in such activities because they know it has repercussions,” she said.
Justice Mambilima stated that the commission is committed to ensure violent free elections by engaging youths in the electoral process, adding that they should also encourage others to register and also participate in the elections of the country.
She said youths were the future of the nation such that they should be responsible to uphold the peace the country was enjoying.
Justice Mambilima said youths should be ambassadors of peace and stressed the need for them to share the knowledge acquired from the interaction with their colleagues who did not have the opportunity.
“When you engage in a violent acts, you scare away voters, hence the need for you to desist from violence during campaigns and to the run up to the polling day,’’ he added.
Justice Mambilima also urged all political parties to be tolerant with each other to avoid misunderstandings characterized during elections by engaging in issue-based campaigns.
She said there is need for tolerance among political players, adding that she expected violent-free elections in Chipata central.
Justice Mambilima said the forefathers already shed blood for the country and that there was no need for youths to die but what was required is to consolidate the democracy that the country was enjoying.
And Justice Mambilima said ECZ is an independent body that does not succumb to pressure from both the ruling and the opposition political parties.
Justice Mambilima said the commission enjoys being an autonomous electoral management body promoting democratic governance by conducting elections according to the law.
And speaking at the same function ECZ Director, Priscilla Isaacs, said the when the commission met traditional leaders earlier this week, chiefs raised a concern of youths who were being ferried from town during campaigns.
Ms Isaacs said the chiefs complained that drunken youths from town caused violence in rural communities during times of elections.
She said from the meeting it was expected that the youths would come out untied.

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