11 August 2011

Zambia: Political Parties Urged to Adhere to Electoral Code

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has told political parties and aspiring candidates to adhere to the electoral code of conduct during their campaigns or risk being disqualified.

Briefing parliamentary and local government candidates from various political parties across the country yesterday ahead of the filing in tomorrow, the commission also urged for the observance of time.

Lusaka Province electoral officer Solomon Sakala cautioned all parliamentary and Local Government aspiring candidates from various political parties not to be violent during their nominations and subsequent campaigns.

Speaking at a meeting with all Lusaka Province aspiring candidates from all political parties at Lusaka City Council (LCC) chamber, Mr Sakala said candidates should carry out peaceful campaigns because Zambia was also a peaceful nation.

Mr Sakala urged the candidates to carry out peaceful campaigns in order to maintain peace in the country. He said it was the duty of all candidates to adhere to the electoral code of conduct and to maintain peace and order during and after elections.

In Kitwe, District Electoral Officer, David Kabanda urged the political parties and aspiring candidates to adhere to the electoral Code of Conduct saying this was important for smooth and fair elections.

He told the aspiring candidates to observe time during the filing in of nominations to avoid being left out. Mr Kabanda also challenged political parties to prepare adequately for the 2011 elections set for September 20 because the ECZ was also ready to conduct free and fair elections.

In Chipata, Eastern Province acting local government officer Noel Sichale called for peaceful campaigns saying Zambia had always been a peaceful country.

He told the aspiring candidates during the stakeholders meeting held at Chipata Day Secondary School hall that Zambia would hold peaceful elections if the electoral code of conduct was followed by all stakeholders involved in the electoral process.

And speaking at the same meeting Luangeni returning officer Arthur Banda and his counterpart Chipata Central Michael Ngulube said political parties should desist from carrying weapons during the campaigns because it was an offence.

In Kabwe, Central Province Electoral Officer Alfred Nyambose said that it was essential for all who are involved in the electoral process to adhere to the electoral code of conduct in order to avoid getting penalized by the commission.

He challenged the media to fulfill their role through out the electoral process.

He urged the candidates and their election agents to ensure that they efficiently understood the nomination qualifications and requirements.

In Livingstone, district electoral officer Vivian Chikoti urged stakeholders to be responsible and control their cadres to ensure peaceful elections.

Ms Chikoti said it was important for all stakeholders to ensure that elections were free and fair to allow democracy to flourish in Zambia.

Ms Chikoti said that the ECZ was committed to ensuring that elections were smooth and transparent and took place in an orderly manner.

She said political parties and other stakeholders should work with the ECZ to ensure amicable conflicts resolution.

"Conflicts resolution programmes are in place and we want to ensure that conflicts, before, during and after elections are minimized," Ms Chikoti said.

She further urged the media to avoid sensationalism and instead to be truthful and objective in their reporting.

"Sensational reporting creates unnecessary anxiety. As media personnel do not be biased in your reporting instead be truthful. We are all Zambians and we want to see development in our country," Ms Chikoti said.

She said elections should not be there to divide Zambians but to unite them in diversity.

"We are all Zambians and we want to see development in our country so let us make sure that there is no violence. Protect the media and let us work together to create a conducive environment for a peaceful election," She said.

Ndola Electoral officer Charity Mphande called on political parties and other concerned organisations participating in the September 20 elections to promote peace.

Ms Mphande said told candidates from political parties, polling agents, the media and conflict management committee members at a nominations briefing yesterday that she expected everyone to play a role in ensuring peace during the elections period.

She said it was important that everyone understood their roles and what was expected of them based on the electoral requirements.

At the same meeting, ECZ announced that filing of parliamentary and local government nominations would be done in the respective constituencies on Friday.

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