FODEP calls for immediate withdraw of poll officials not resident in Kapiri and Lukulu
FOUNDATION for Democratic Process (FODEP) would like to express concern at the incident that happened on 19th April, 2013 in Kapiri Mposhi Constituency where a strong room for ballot papers was allegedly found open. Occurrences of Such incidents, if not curtailed and checked, have the potential to undermine the credibility of the electoral process in the country.
However, FODEP is grateful at the promptness by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to resolve the matter by verifying all the ballot papers polling stations by polling station in the presence of all concerned stakeholders which helped in cooling down tempers. In this vein FODEP would like to advise the ECZ to, in future, ensure proper security measures are put in place to avoid such incidents.
FODEP is also in receipt of a complaint from political parties participating in both Lukulu and Kapiri Mposhi parliamentary by-elections of the presence and recruitment of polling officials outside Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu districts respectively to oversee the elections. The recruitment of such people to oversee the election in another district has the potential to raise suspicions among stakeholders.
This is not the first time FODEP has noticed the trend of recruiting and importing poll personnel from one district to another by the ECZ to oversee the elections in total disregard of the local people. Such one example was in Mpongwe where people from Luanshya were allegedly recruited. It is our considered view that, if such people were indeed there in Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu, they should be withdrawn immediately to preserve the integrity of the polls in the two constituencies.
It is for this reason that FODEP supports the need for ECZ to decentralize its operations to the district level so as to have its own staff that are loyal and answerable to the commission rather than using Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Ministry of Education personnel and other agents to oversee elections. This compromises accountability, dilutes supervisory and disciplinary abilities of the ECZ and consequently undermines integrity of the electoral process in the country.
Executive Committee (NEC): Mr. Shepherd Chilombe; President, Mr. Martin Mbewe; Vice President, Mr. Jacob Goma; National Secretary, Ms. Rose Phiri; National Treasurer; Ms. Ethel Mwanza; Vice-National Secretary, Mr. McDonald Chipenzi, Executive Director