|Entrance to the Election Results Center -Picture by Mwebantu|
By Paul Shalala
With two days before Zambians vote in a general election and a referendum, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has unveiled the Election Results Center which will be based at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka.
The center, which is heavily guarded due to the usual tension that characterises polls, is accessible to all participating political parties, the media and election observers.
After the close of polling on Thursday evening, focus will shift from the polling stations to the Election Results Center where ECZ Chairperson Esau Chulu will be announcing periodic results as they trickle in from the 156 constituencies.
Justice Chulu is expected to be announcing results for the presidential and referendum.
This is because results for the Members of Parliament, Mayor, Council Chairmen and Councillors will be announced in the respective constituencies and districts.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has today met some of the international observers who are in the country to monitor the polls.
According to a statement issued by Presidential Press Aide Amos Chanda, President Lungu met former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who is leading the African Union Observer Mission, former Mauritian President Cassam Uteem who is leading the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa and former Italian Minister of Integration Cecile Kyenge who is leading the European Union Observer Mission.
Mr Chanda has stated that the three, together with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Envoy on Political Dialogue Ibrahim Gambari met the head of state at State House this morning.
“His Excellency Goodluck Jonathan expressed full confidence that the elections which will be held this Thursday on 11th August, 2016 will be free and fair and that Zambia will maintain its highly reputable brand as a viable democracy. Mr. Jonathan urged all political parties taking part in the elections to accept the outcome,” said Mr Chanda.
|An aerial view of the Election Results Center|
“The Head of State also held an open and frank conversation with EU observers led by Hon. Kyenge. The President assured EU observers that the opposition were free to campaign anywhere they wanted, and that access to the media was a matter for independent media boards and editorial teams.”
Meanwhile, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has urged Zambians to turn out enmass and vote for their preferred candidates on Thursday.
In its pre-election statement, FODEP has urged all stakeholders to accept the results of the election and embrace peace after the results are announced.
The local organisation has deployed 5,090 monitors in 98 of the 156 constituencies to monitor the Thursday polls.