We wish to applaud the pro-activeness which the Electoral Commission of Zambia has applied in their response to the amended Constitution which has revised some of the electoral provisions which include the in-built date for the Presidential and general elections.
While in the past conflicts arose over the election date for the general elections, as it was a closely guarded secret of the sitting head of State, this is no longer the case.
With the amended Constitution, Zambians and other political stakeholders now know that the second Thursday of August every five years is the official date for the Presidential and general elections.
This amendment has not only reduced tension among political players who in previous general elections accused a sitting head of State of disadvantaging them over the poll date but has also levelled the electoral playing field.
We say this because after the revised electoral provision, the ECZ on Thursday, moved with speed to assure political players that Zambia’s electoral process is transperant and open to scrutiny.
The ECZ guided by the chairman held a briefing to outline to the public the short-term and long-term measures that their preparation for the August 11, 2016 Presidential and general election would entail.
Political players who did not have sight of the statement should take time to read the ECZ roadmap towards the August 11, 2016 elections.
For instance, the ECZ has clarified that the 1,000 supporters for a Presidential candidate need not come to Lusaka but can be accounted for at provincial centres.
The ECZ has also set June 6 to June 10, 2016 as the dates for the Presidential candidates to pay nomination fees while the Presidential nominations will be held between June 28 and July 2, 2016.
We hope political parties and their candidates will be ready for the task ahead and desist from making difficult the smooth path the ECZ has created.
The roadmap that the ECZ has set out should be emulated by all stakeholders in the electoral process.
For example, what is the Ministry of Education’s take on the electoral period since schools are at most times used as polling stations?
Do pupils see a disruption in their learning calendar during nomination and polling days? Those are critical questions which deserve straight answers.
It is important for the education authorities to psyche the pupils, the teachers and the parents so that they are ready for the break before the polls and the activities that will follow after the elections.
This however cannot be achieved without proper planning for the big day in Zambia’s history.
All stakeholders in the electoral process should emulate the ECZ to announce their roadmaps to ensure a smooth electoral period.