Thursday, July 25, 2013


FOUNDATION FOR DEMOCRATIC PROCESS (FODEP) PRE-ELECTION STATEMENT, ISSUED by the Executive Director, McDonald Chipenzi, AT LUSAKA, 24th JULY, 2013 By Elections Campaigns-Conduct Expose Weakness of the Electoral Laws and urgency for ECZ to Act. Having followed the campaigns from nominations to the close of the campaign period which is today, Wednesday 23rd July, 2013, we wish to state our position regarding the conduct of the campaigns. Though the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) observed isolated pockets of confrontations in Chipata Central and Solwezi East constituencies, the scale of such incidents have not been widespread but unfortunate anyway. The main causes of such confrontations have been lack of appreciation by opposing parties of the principles of tolerance and co-existence during campaigns compounded by accusations and counter accusations of malpractices such as bribery and confiscation of voting documents by opposing political parties. FODEP’s view is that there has been improvement in the conduct of the campaigns by political stakeholders. It was gratifying that participating political parties have been preaching peace and non-confrontational based politics. FODEP observes with great concern however that the conduct of some political party leaders, traditional leadership and political party supporters especially considering the language and behaviour leading to the forthcoming by-elections leaves a lot to be desired as far as the provisions of the Electoral laws and the mandate of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to oversee the conduct of all players are concerned. The involvement of chiefs in partisan politics is in total disregard of the provisions of Article 129 of the republican Constitution. It is regrettable that while the Courts have nullified the elections of some Members of Parliament (MPs), some of the grounds including the use of intimidating language that is likely to blackmail voters such as claiming that development can only take place if they vote for the ruling party, which is tantamount to vote buying, are being repeated. FODEP is bemoaning with worry that it is becoming clear that apart from continued appeals by the ECZ for all parties to abide by the law during campaigns, even the recent decisions of the Courts have had little effect on how some political parties and their leaders are conducting themselves in the ongoing by elections on various occasions. It is worrying in democracy like Zambia, for government leaders to threaten to withhold development from certain constituencies if they supported or voted for other candidates than the ruling party, as seen in Kafulafuta, and Chipata Central. This is strange and surprising because these leaders are on record of having said that the Republican President is for all Zambians regardless of whether or not they vote for the opposition. FODEP is also receiving with sadness the levels of intolerance among political parties as exemplified by the recent incidents of violence in Solwezi East Constituency, at Mapunga in Mujimanzovu ward, and especially Saint Dorothy area where a United Party for National Development (UPND) member was attacked and their vehicle damaged by well known cadres and confrontation between MMD and PF cadres in Chipata Central. This is a clear indication that the current electoral laws, and the Code of Conduct are very weak, a situation which is leaving the ECZ in an awkward position time and again. The frequency of such incidents are also putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on the police officer who sometimes find it difficult to deal with perpetrators of such acts of impunity especially cadres if they are from the ruling party. The organization believes it would be very helpful if the ECZ is seen to act by being able to penalize or disqualify political parties from an election whose members behave disorderly, in disregard of the law during campaigns, as a way of promoting integrity of the electoral process and inspiring voter confidence. This is expected more than ever before going by the frequency of incidents of violent and unruly conduct in almost all the recent by elections FODEP has monitored, the cases of Livingstone, and Feira, at Kavalamanja being very fresh. The organization is keen to see clarification in terms of their roles and powers among and between the Police, ECZ, and Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) so that confusions and suspicions from various sections of society and stakeholders are rested and resolved once and for all. FODEP would also wish to appeal to the Police and ensure that police officers that are deployed to provide security are able to fulfill their duties professionally, and without taking sides especially under the guise of the Public Order Act (POA). However, the deployment of too many police officers for example 300 men and women in Mkushi North are against the recommendations in the Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation (PEMMO) in the SADC Region which states: “the presence of security forces around polling stations may intimidate and instill fear in voters.” FODEP therefore appeals to the electorate in the four constituencies where the by-elections are taking place to turn en mass and vote for their preferred candidates without being haunted by the “electoral gifts” and blackmails offered to them during campaigns by politicians. The organization will be deploying monitors in the four constituencies, and it is hopeful that all political parties and their supporters are going to act maturely and respect the law and the ECZ. Contact persons: 1. National Secretariat: Chileshe Nsama- 0975 786524 2. Kafulafuta Constituency- Kalunyangi Leonard -0963 677084 3. Mkushi North- Pastor Rodwell Chilembo-0977 447314 4. Chipata Central –Ms. Eunice Mwenge-0977-753393 i. Mr. Joseph Chipandwe-0978-223233 5. Solwezi East- Mr. Steward Bwembya-0964-860274 i. Mr, Kafwimbi 0977-301875

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