Panafrican News Agency

AU Mission offers tips for Zambian election stakeholders

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) on Saturday advised the Government of Zambia to urgently undertake measures to address underlying factors of increasing tension and politically motivated violence through inclusive dialogue and engagement with other stakeholders.

At the same time the AU Mission urged the government to review the period provided for determining election petitions for presidential elections to allow sufficient adjudication time.

These recommendations and others are part of preliminary findings by the AUEOM on the presidential election held in Zambia on 12 August.

The Mission has called for prosecution of perpetrators of election-related violence and other forms of political coercion, despite its commendation of the people of Zambia “for their clear enthusiasm and determination to peacefully express their will through the ballot box.”

It has also urged the government to create enforcement mechanisms for ensuring that state resources (both human and material) do not serve partisan interests.

For the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), the AU mission has urged enhancement of transparency and trust in the electoral process to ensure the ECZ is widely perceived to be a credible institution by adopting proactive engagement measures with stakeholders, particularly opposition parties and civil society organizations.

The AUEOM urged the Commission to review the process of accreditation to facilitate the participation of observers, monitors and party agents to enhance the transparency and credibility of Zambia’s electoral process.

Among other observations, the mission has called on political parties in Zambia to refrain from acts of violence, hate speech, incitement, and intimidation of opponents during the electoral process.

It pointed out that political parties need to adopt affirmative actions aimed at increasing participation and representation of women, especially in leadership positions. They should also channel any disputes on the process or its outcomes through appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms as provided for in the law.

Regarding the media, particularly the public broadcaster, the AUEOM said they should ensure equal access and balanced election coverage to all political parties and candidates.

It underlined that they strictly adhere to ethical reporting standards, including fact checking systems to combat fake news and misinformation on the elections.

In the Mission’s view, civil society organizations in Zambia need to improve collaboration with ECZ and other stakeholders to enhance the transparency and credibility of the electoral process.

The Mission urged security agents to remain impartial and professional throughout the electoral process

-0- PANA AR 14Aug2021