THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has shown leadership by suspending the current announcement of presidential election results, says Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director Macdonald Chipenzi.
And human rights defender Ngande Mwanajiti has praised the ECZ for remaining strong and impartial in their conduct of the presidential election.
Mr Chipenzi said the immediate suspension of result announcement by the Commission was not just timely but wise to avoid unnecessary discord.
He called on the political parties to tame their members and exercise patience to allow the commission to do their job professionally.
“I would like to commend the Commission for the decision that has been made, which has shown leadership and independence in the manner they have tried to handle the electoral process,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi said it would not be healthy for some political parties to start celebrating when others were still voting.
He said Zambians should remain peaceful during the voting period, adding that the credibility exhibited by the Commission would give Zambians the best they expected.
“ECZ is mandated to give hope to the people of Zambia, just like they have intervened in ensuring that all the announcements from the constituencies are suspended finished voting in some areas that were affected.
Mr Chipenzi said it was vital that issues of concern during the electoral process were tabled timely before they could escalate into a problem. And Mr. Mwanajiti said he was happy that Zambians went to cast their vote peacefully although the turnout was unimpressive.
He explained that it was not strange for Zambia to experience that kind of turnout in a by-election, adding that what was disturbing were the pronouncements by political party leaders that they had won the election before the ECZ could announce the final results.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday addressed his cadres at Mulungushi International Conference where he announced that Tuesday’s election was his.
“Such conduct create difficult situation in a country.
There is no problem meeting the chairperson for elections, but to tell supporters that he has won the election was not right although it was just his opinion,” said Mr. Mwanajiti. He said Zambians should focus on the election and the body mandated by law to manage the electoral process of the country. “So what is the rule of the game? Does the Commission allow a candidate to declare himself winner? The answer is no. but if the intention was to give ichimwela (morale) to his cadres and supporters there is nothing wrong, but to tell ECZ to do what is outside their mandate was wrong,” said Mr. Mwanajiti. He said what should be critical to all well meaning Zambians was to uphold the peace and stability they have enjoyed in the last 50 years, adding that there was no reason why the people of Zambia should be incited to fight over an election. Zambians went to the polls on Tuesday, January 20, to elect the country’s sixth president following the death of President Michael Sata on October 28 last year.