• TI-Z agrees with the many observations made by the Mission.
• TI-Z supports the vast majority of the recommendations, with one major exception.
• The Organization is in agreement with the Mission on the need to enact a law on campaign financing.
Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) says it supports European Union Election Observation Mission’s (EUEOM)’s recommendation for the country to enact a law on campaign financing.
Organization Executive Director Maurice Nyambe said through its Political Integrity Project, TI-Z has been advocating for the enactment of legislation aimed at regulating political party financing and campaign spending.
Mr. Nyambe stated that in the lead up to the August 2021 general elections, the organization released survey results on campaign spending on billboard, television and radio advertisement, as it was clear that traditional and online media campaign was highly monetized, with the then ruling Patriotic Front (PF) monopolizing prime-time slots on state and private media.
He commended the European Union Observation Mission for generating what is largely an accurate report on the 2021 General Elections.
“TI-Z is therefore in agreement with the EU Mission on the need to enact a law on campaign financing, including reporting requirements for political parties.”
“The EU Mission also recommended for the enactment of a law on political parties stipulating registration requirements and guaranteeing internal party democracy, inclusivity, transparency and accountability, with adequate institutional oversight. This recommendation should be advanced through on-going advocacy work towards the process of enacting the Political Parties Bill into law,” Mr. Nyambe said.
Mr. Nyambe however said TI-Z opposes the recommendation to remove educational requirements for those aspiring for elective political positions especially presidential and parliamentary candidates.
He states that political offices demand considerable competencies because Members of Parliament are required to debate and preside over complex issues such as the budget and audit reports and to make legislation that will affect different aspects of Zambian society.
“The need to have a minimum educational requirement is therefore paramount, and for higher political office, the consideration should in fact be to raise the minimum threshold rather than do away with it.”
“The recommendation may however be relevant for local government candidates since many political parties found it challenging to find candidates with Grade 12 certificates during their adoption processes,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nyambe said TI-Z in support with the Mission’s recommendation on the need for a formalized cooperation or signed agreement for closer collaboration among Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), civil society and the media.
“The conduct of credible elections, while constitutionally the sole preserve of the ECZ, requires a high degree of openness and collaboration with different stakeholders, and we urge the Commission to give this recommendation the serious consideration it deserves.”
In its final report on the August 12, 2021 General elections, European Union Election Observation Mission led by Chief Observer Maria Arena also recommended for the revision of candidacy requirements to enhance the right and opportunity to stand by ensuring registration fees do not deter participation and are refundable, and removing educational requirements for the right to stand, among other recommendations.