8 November 2012

Zambia: Parley Approves ECZ Budget

PARLIAMENT on Tuesday unanimously approved more than K56 billion allocation to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in the 2013 national Budget.

The Parliamentarians also approved the Ministry of Gender and Child Development allocation of more than K35 billion.

Moving the motion to approve the estimates and expenditure, Vice-President Guy Scott said ECZ was an important institution in the administration of the electoral process.

Dr Scott said the projected budget allocation to ECZ would help the institution in carrying out operations in 2013 such as reviewing some constituency boundaries.

Lubansenshi Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Patrick Mucheleka said good governance was a preamble for sustainable development and that ECZ was an important body in enhancing democracy.

"I support this budget allocation to ECZ but I must state that ECZ in the recent past has come under severe criticism with regard to handling elections. Management of elections and conducting of voter registration exercise if not handled carefully could trigger chaos," he said.

MMD Keembe MP Ronnie Shikapwasha, who supported the budget however, wondered why ECZ had only concentrated on the continuous registration of voters in Lusaka at the expense of rural areas.

United Party for National Development (UPND) Kalomo MP Request Muntanga urged Government to ensure ECZ became an effective institution in running the electoral process.

MMD Senga Hill MP Kapembwa Simbao said though he supported the budget allocation, the Government should consider privatising ECZ if Zambians were to have confidence in its operations.

He said the parallel vote tabulation system used to help monitor elections during the September 2011 tripartite elections should have a special funding through ECZ.

On the Ministry of Gender and Child Development budget, UPND Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu said the name of the ministry should be changed to Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Mr Mwiimbu said changing the name would make it effective and centre its operations on issues affecting women and children at large.

He urged the Government to increase the number of women in decision-making positions, saying by the end of 2013, the Government should consist of 50 per cent women in Cabinet.

UPND Pemba MP Mutinta Mazoka called for increased access to education, especially for the girl-child, to enable the country attain the Millennium Development Goal on education for all by 2015.

Gender and Child Development Minister Inonge Wina assured the House that the Government would continue to implement various developmental programmes aimed at improving the welfare of citizens.

Dr Scott also moved a motion to approve estimates of expenditure of about K7.9 billion for the Public Service Commission.

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