8 November 2012

Zambia: Employ Permanent Staff, ECZ Told

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has directed the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to recruit permanent staff to conduct elections instead of relying on council workers as returning officers.

Mr Sata was agitated by reports that a council secretary in Mufumbwe District had excluded 18 teachers from conducting elections on account that they belonged to the Patriotic Front (PF).

"Do you expect a returning officer to behave that way?" the President asked.

He urged ECZ chairperson, Irene Mambilima and the newly-appointed commissioners to lobby for more funds so that the operations of the Commission could be decentralised.

The President said he had always emphasised the need to have an independent electoral system even from the time he was an opposition leader.

"The earlier you have your own independent human beings the better, instead of relying on council employees," he said.

Mr Sata said Zambia was huge and that the task of employing election officers could be expensive, especially that the country only held elections once in a while.

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