Zambians confident of electoral process

ZAMBIANS have become increasingly confident in elections as tools for ensuring that voters’ views are reflected and for holding non-performing officials accountable, a new Afrobarometer survey has indicated.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa.

According to the survey, six of 10 Zambians representing 59 per cent say elections function well in enabling voters to remove leaders who do not do what the people want.

In his presentation of the report, Rural Net consultant Victor Kanyense said proportion had nearly doubled from 30% in 2005.

The substantial increase from 2009 by 38 per cent to 59 per cent may be related to the fact that the 2011 elections resulted in a regime change after 20 years of MMD leadership.

“More than half (51%) say elections ensure that Members of Parliament reflect the views of voters, an increase from 29% in 2005,” Mr Kanyense said.

He said a majority representing 59 per cent perceived the 2011 elections as “completely free and fair,” and an additional 20 per cent said they were “free and fair, but with minor problems.”

Mr Kanyense said only a minority of Zambians said that voters were never threatened with violence and never bribed and that votes were always counted fairly.

He said 43 per cent of urban residents were less likely than 57 per cent of rural dwellers to say elections function “well” or “very well” to ensure that MPs reflected the views of voters.

Mr Kanyense said, again, the difference between men at 52 per cent and women at 50 per cent were negligible.

“As on the question of enabling voters to remove non-performing leaders from office, the proportion of Zambians who say elections are effective in ensuring that MPs reflect voters’ views has been increasing, from 29 per cent in 2005 to 36 per cent in 2009 and 51 per cent in 2014,” he said.

Mr Kanyense said the upward trend suggested that elections in Zambia give the electorate an increasingly broad spectrum of powers to shape the reality in which they lived.

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