Poll credibility

THE presidential election in Zambia is a very emotive affair because the winner takes all.

Even if the winning presidential candidate gets a single vote above other contestants, the victor has to be sworn in as head of State.

In our first past the post electoral system,  there is no second chance for other contestants even if collectively they garnered the majority vote over the winner.

This means there will be nothing for 10 of the 11 presidential candidates after the January 20, 2015 poll.

The losers will simply walk home to wait to try their luck in another presidential election.

For the aggrieved, they will go to court to petition the result.

Therefore, it is important that everything is done to ensure the credibility of the presidential elections so that they are acceptable to all.

This involves the participating political parties respecting the institution charged with the responsibility of conducting elections, the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

This is not to say that political parties have no right to check on what the Electoral Commission of Zambia is doing and voicing out their concerns.

The political players have a right to do so through the structures they have established for themselves with the Electoral Commission of Zambia.

We are aware that there is an alliance between the political parties and an electoral body known as Electoral Conflict Management Committee through which an aggrieved political party can raise its concerns.

If the information is too sensitive to be subjected to a grouping of other political parties, we believe the doors of the Electoral Commission of Zambia are open for such closed-door discussions.

Therefore, we do not expect political parties to be careless with information pertaining to the conduct of presidential elections.

While we understand our electoral body has its own shortcomings, such as insufficient permanent staff and has to use hired manpower, it has generally never failed to conduct a credible election.

The hiring of manpower is not an easy undertaking as they have to be trained at short notice to carry the responsibility of conducting a presidential election which should be acceptable to all

We appeal to all political parties to be civil in their language as they campaign so that they are not seen to have the agenda of undermining the credibility of the presidential election.

It would be bad politics to psychologically prepare Zambians to reject the outcome of the presidential poll if the results do not go in favour of a particular candidate.

What the 11 political parties contesting the poll should understand is that out of the 13 million Zambians, there are only five million voters.

The political parties should also understand that three-quarters of the people attending political rallies might not be voters.

Therefore, it would be erroneous for a political party to base the outcome of the presidential poll on crowd attendance at rallies.

As we move forward, it is important for political players to think through their statements on the electoral process and how they deal with perceived misunderstandings.




Categorized | Editorial

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