28 February 2018

Zambia: Stakeholders Welcome Electoral Reform Bills

Various stakeholders have welcomed the move by the Government to present the Electoral Reform Bills to Parliament aimed at enhancing the country's democracy, saying that it has been long overdue.

The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) welcomed the move and called on the Government to announce the time frame for the Bills.

YALI governance advisor Isaac Mwanza believed that the need to amend the electoral laws and the Constitution was not in dispute by all stakeholders, who included political parties and civil society organisations and that it was hopeful that support would be rendered to the amendment Bills.

Mr Mwanza said in an interview that the current Constitution and electoral laws could fully be implemented when the existing lacunas and ambiguities were cleaned.

"We want to remind the public that Government, through Justice Minister Given Lubinda, had in good faith called on all stakeholders to make submissions to the Ministry of Justice on proposed amendments, and it will be inexcusable for anyone to say the public have not been involved in this process," Mr Mwanza said.

He reiterated the organisation's call to deal with issues of the number of attempts by presidential candidates, term limits for elective positions, clarifying the issues of new provisions on the presidential two terms, vacation of office by councillors and mayors, among the many issues.

Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) Copperbelt coordinator Mike Mshanga said the move was welcome and that it had been long overdue as the organisation was expecting to have reforms in the electoral system.

Mr Mshanga said some of the issues to be tackled in the reformation of the electoral system was doing away with by-elections and find another way of replacing a Member of Parliament who resigns or dies in the course of duty.

He said by-elections should be done away with as they were expensive.

Mr Mshanga said the other issues to be looked at were that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be given the power to reprimand political parties engaging in political violence before, during and after the elections.


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