Thursday, 22 January 2015

International Observers Describe Zambia's Presidential Poll Credible

By Paul Shalala
Kgalema Motlanthe

International election observers that have monitored Zambia's presidential election on Tuesday have described the poll as credible.

The 23-member African Union Election Observation Mission says the pre and post election period has been largely peaceful and meeting international election standards.

Former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, who is leading the mission, says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) presided over a well organised poll.

"The African union Election Observer Mission commends election officials for their attention to detail during the counting process," said Mr Motlanthe.

The mission further recommends that Zambia allows independent presidential candidates, allow majoritarian electoral system and extending the period for swearing in the new president to allow electoral disputes to be sorted out.

Mr Motlanthe also called on the ECZ to implement the continuous voter education.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) says the polls were largely peaceful despite reports of violence among political parties.

Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem, who is head of the EISA Elections Observer Mission to Zambia, says the people of Zambia freely voted and exercised their democratic right on polling day.

He however recommended that Zambia legislates the introduction of the joint election of the President and Vice-President as running mates, introduce the election of the President by absolute majority and expand the period between the announcement of results and the presidential inauguration.

Mr Uteem further recommended that there be separation between the functions of the Returning Officer of the presidential election from those of the Chief Justice to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Sofonea Shale

And the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Non-Governmental Organisations Observer Mission has also declared the 20th January presidential election as free and fair.

Head of the SADC NGO Observers Sofonea Shale says the election was credible.

“We have experienced voter apathy due to the movement of people from one place to another.  We do not expect the number of people who have voted to be more than 40 percent,” Mr Shale said.

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