ECZ starts 2021 elections preparations

By Staff Reporter

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has commenced preparations in readiness for the 2021 general elections, Commission chairperson justice Esau Chulu has disclosed.

Justice Chulu, at the launch of the ECZ strategic plan for 2018 to 2022 at Sarovar Premiere Hotel in Lusaka on Thursday evening, revealed that with under three years before the 2021 general elections, the Commission had commenced preparations in readiness for the undertaking.

He indicated that the ECZ would in 2019 undertake a delimitation exercise.

“This process is a prerequisite to voter registration and is cardinal in reducing the distances to polling stations that the electorate need to cover,” justice Chulu said, adding that the ECZ recognised that majority of voters in the 2021 general elections would be young people.

“In view of this, the Commission plans to explore, amongst other initiatives, the implementation of an online voter registration system to accommodate the technological savvy and those with limited time to visit voter registration centres.”

Justice Chulu appealed to relevant stakeholders to remain firm with the ECZ by complementing its efforts in view of sensitisation of eligible voters, offering policy advice on legislation, enhancing factual and accurate reporting by the media on the electoral process, amongst other areas.

Justice Chulu underscored the fact that the ECZ was now on a trajectory of summarising the multiple lessons learnt in the past.

“These are lessons that now become a transformative agenda towards new beginnings for the Commission, and furthering positive strides for improving the electoral process going forward,” he said.

“The Commission conducted a research on the causes of  high number of rejected ballot papers and voter apathy during the 2016 general elections and referendum. The consolidation of results is currently on-going and findings of the survey will be shared once the analysis is finalised.”

And justice Chulu noted that the 2018 to 2022 strategic plan established the platform for implementation of strategic initiatives that would facilitate processes, leading up to the 2021 general elections, and beyond.

“The (2018 to 2022 strategic) plan was developed after the conclusion of the interim strategic plan for the period 2016 to 2017. Therefore, the 2018 to 2022 strategic plan has been developed to incorporate changes in the electoral legal framework which occurred following the amendment of the Constitution of Zambia in 2016,” Justice Chulu explained.

According to Justice Chulu, the 2018 to 2022 strategic plan themed “efficient and credible delivery of elections,” amplified the commitment of the ECZ, “as an independent constitutional body,” to effectively manage and deliver credible elections.

“This was developed with the vision of ensuring that the Commission performs its mandate to become a model electoral management body, which not only inspires the Zambian people, but also other electoral management bodies and people around the world,” Justice Chulu noted.

Justice Chulu further outlined some priority strategic objectives for the ECZ in the next five years.

“The Commission has in the next five years prioritised the following strategic objectives: Enhancing efficiency in the management of elections through effective implementation of the electoral process, enhance stakeholder confidence and participation in the electoral process through regular engagement and awareness programmes, enhance the Commission’s corporate image through the implementation of programmes aimed at improving stakeholder relations and continuously enhance skills, systems and governance and management structures to achieve operational efficiency and effectiveness,” highlighted justice Chulu.

Meanwhile, House of Chiefs vice-chairperson, chieftainess Mweenda of Chikankata district, who represented the traditional House’s chairperson senior chief Inyambo Yeta, said, among other things: “It is pleasing to see that the Commission aims to commence its undertakings on a new slate.”

The House of Chiefs comprises four chiefs from each of the 10 provinces of Zambia.