The European Union (EU) observer mission in Zambia says it will observe all aspects of the electoral process starting from the work of election administration, campaign activities, and the environment in which the polls are conducted.
And the EU observer mission has emphasised that elections are a key event in any nation’s political calendar as they accord citizens the opportunity to choose their national leaders.
EU Election Observer Mission to Zambia , Chief Observer Maria Muniz De Urquiza noted that polls are a reflection of the democratic fabric of society.
She said open and transparent elections that are contested by a multitude of parties and candidates are a key pillar of any democracy.
Urquiza said the Mission is in the country at the invitation of President Rupiah Banda to observe all aspects of the electoral process, and help build a comprehensive view of the process.
She noted that the EU will witness the entire electoral process which includes the work of election administration, campaign activities, and the environment in which the polls are conducted.
Urquiza said the mission will also observe the voting, counting, and tabulation, the conduct of the media, and the role of state institutions and civil society organizations.
She confirmed that the EU has deployed 24 long term observers in all nine provinces of Zambia, whose duty is to assess the electoral campaign, voting day, compilation of results, and post-election activities including complaints and appeals procedures.
Urquiza said the mission will deploy a total of 120 observers as the remaining individuals will be arriving prior to polling day and will also help with evaluating the general electoral context and participation of women and minorities.
She however stated that though EU is in the country to monitor elections the organization does not have the privilege to interfere in the electoral process as such is against the electoral code of conduct.
In addition, Urquiza said the mission will collect data from various stakeholders and will issue a preliminary statement of its findings and conclusions shortly after elections.
She said a more comprehensive final report, including recommendations for future polls will be published within three months of Election Day.
The EU Chief Observer further called on the Zambian people to eliminate violent incidents and create an enabling environment for peaceful and credible elections.