• ECZ must include the role of election monitors and observers in their voter education messages
• The relative lack of voter education that we have witnessed could potentially lead either to apathy or to a high number of spoiled ballot
• Section 80 of the Electoral Process Act No.35 of 2016 states that the ECZ is mandated to provide voter education
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has reiterated that election monitoring by both local and foreign monitors is an essential component of the electoral process and goes a long way to enhancing credibility and integrity of the process.
TIZ Chapter President Sampa Kalungu further urged political parties, to see to it that election monitors and observers are given the space and latitude to do their work effectively at different levels of the electoral process.
Mr. Nyambe added that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) must include the role of election monitors and observers in their voter education messages in order for citizens and other stakeholders to appreciate the important contribution that monitors and observers make to the whole electoral process.
Further Mr. Kalungu urges the Electoral Commission of Zambia other stakeholders to intensify civic awareness on elections in the remaining 9 days before polling day.
“Our expectation was that the voter education campaign should have run concurrently with the official campaign period for the political parties, and we feel that this has been an opportunity lost on the part of the ECZ.” said Mr. Kalungu.
“The relative lack of voter education that we have witnessed could potentially lead either to apathy or to a high number of spoiled ballots, particularly from first time votes who may not be too familiar with the voting process.”
He said the need for citizens to be made aware of different aspects of the electoral process cannot be overemphasized stating that Stakeholders such as civil society organizations, among others, are involved in civic awareness related to the elections.
“However, the primary legal mandate for raising awareness on elections lies with ECZ.” Said Mr Kalungu.
The Chapter President pointed out that “Section 80 of the Electoral Process Act No.35 of 2016 states that the ECZ is mandated to provide voter education and information that will enable citizens to participate meaningfully in the electoral process.”