The Electoral Code of Conduct should be strengthened to penalize offending stakeholders, says Forum for Development and Democracy (FDD) Copperbelt chairperson, Yotam Mtayachalo.
He said Government should clearly spell out how cases of members of Parliament whose seats are nullified on account of corrupt activities should be handled.
Mr Mtayachalo called for the immediate amendment of Article 12 of the Electoral Code of Conduct to automatically disqualify from recontesting elections, individuals who lose seats because of malpractices.
He questioned why the Government U-turned on its decision to appeal a number of seats which were nullified on account of breach of electoral conduct.
Mr Mtayachalo alleged that the country’s electoral process was corrupt and that there was need for stern measures to deter politicians who breach the Electoral Code of Conduct.
He said the abuse of the electoral code was of great concern because when a seat was nullified it was a drain on the country’s resources as a by-election had to be held.
“It is important that in future, all aspiring candidates in parliamentary elections are scrutinized before their adoption to avoid unnecessary by-elections caused by those who breach electoral laws,” Mr Mtayachalo said.
He was concerned that the current Electoral Code of Conduct was weak, putting the Electoral Commission of Zambia in an awkward position when it came to penalizing offenders.
“Despite repetitive nullification of parliamentary seats on account of electoral corruption and other malpractices, the vice has continued to eat into the integrity of the electoral process in the country. We would like to see this law further strengthened and the ECZ given more powers to be able to disqualify political parties who engage in such vices,” he said.