Zambia's New Cyberlaws in the Run-Up to August's Presidential Elections Draw a Mixed Response

President Edgar Lungu (file photo).

While the need to regulate the use of the internet is recognised, there is concern over the extent of the regulation and its effect on freedom of expression, the right to information and the right to privacy.

Meamande Wamukwamba is a Zambian human rights lawyer working with the Chapter One Foundation. She writes in her personal capacity.

Zambia is scheduled to hold presidential elections on 12 August 2021 and voter verification is under way. For the first time, digital platforms have been used for both voter registration and verification, necessitating an assessment and review of this strategy once the entire process has been completed.

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Justice Esau Chulu, launched the verification exercise using the SMS facility for registered voters to verify their registration details. After the close of voter registration and verification, a new voters' register will be compiled and only persons on this register will be allowed to vote in the elections. It is therefore important for all citizens to register and verify their details regardless of whether they have voted before.

Nominations are further set to begin in May 2021, with presidential candidates set to begin nominations followed by mayoral and...

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