SACCORD to defy govt on parallel voter announcements

The Southern African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) says it will use the parallel voter tabulation during the 2011 general elections whether government allows or not.

This is a system where NGOs place their own agents in all polling centers across the country. The agents send poll results to the command center in Lusaka which announces them to the public before the government electoral commission does so.
SACCORD Executive Director Lee Habasonda was quoted by Muvi News saying his organisation has resolved to use the parallel voter announcement in order to give credibilityto the elections.

Habasonda said his organization will work (get money from) with Washington-based National Democratic Institute to properly execute the system.
He said his organization will deploy monitors to all polling stations countrywide to ensure that a parallel voter tabulation exercise is undertaken.
Habasonda explained that  the parallel voter tabulation gives credence to the electoral system as it gives voters confidence.
Habasonda said government leaders and Electoral Commission of Zambia officials should know that this system has already been used in Zambia and it has posed no problems.

SACCORD  was recently banned on grounds that it is a danger to national security.
Information Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha has wlready announced that any organization planning to conduct parallel voter tabulation must seek authorization from government.

But  Habasonda says there is no need for such permission.

The Watchdog has information that cabinet has already decided to ban any parallel voter tabulation and that people from outside Zambia who are or will come in the country for this will be deported.

The government believes that the parallel voter announcement is meant to cause chaos in the country. The government believes that the National Democratic Institute which has been funded by DFID  for this particular project is in the country to cause the type of confusion that was witnessed in the last elections in Kenya and Ivory Coast.

The government fears that the parallel voter tabulation leaders will announce the results of the votes from urban areas without waiting for results from other parts of the country. Since votes from urban arrears traditionally favour the opposition, people will be misled that the opposition have won.


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