THE Public Order Act (POA) should speedily be revised so that it application should be impartial to promote the rights of freedom of assembly and expression, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has said.

 United Nations Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan said that the Zambia Police had a responsibility to ensure that the POA was applied in a fair and impartial way all political parties across the country so that political parties were treated equally.

“The Zambia Police have a responsibility to ensure that they apply the POA in a fair and impartial way, in all provinces of the country, treating all political parties equally.

Ms Rogan said the project would enhance the operations of ECZ such voter education, auditing the voter registration database, ensuring the secure and timely transmission of results and better communication on the electoral process. Ms Rogan said the UNDP programme Consolidation of the Electoral Process in Zambia. would go beyond this year’s elections on decentralisation and improving linkages between the voter registration database, civil register and other issues.

“UNDP together with European Union, DFID UK and Ireland have entered into a cooperative agreement to address the longer term underlying areas of electoral processes in Zambia and to support ECZ to successfully organise elections” Ms Rogan said.

And Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed  a US$9.9 million multi-donor fund to support the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) successfully organise this year’s elections. ECZ Chairperson Esau Chulu said this yesterday in Lusaka during the launch of the ECZ and UNDP 2015-2017 Electoral Cycle Project dubbed “Consolidation of the Electoral Process in Zambia. “

Justice Chulu said that ECZ had a tight schedule and that it would ensure that it delivered transparent, credible, free and fair elections and adheres to the set timelines of the elections` timetable to ensure that all activities and processes were conducted as scheduled.

“The Commission has a very demanding schedule this year to ensure that it delivers transparent and credible elections. We will adhere to the set timelines of the elections` timetable to ensure that all activities and processes are conducted as scheduled. It is for this reason that I would like to reiterate that the Commission will not extend any further, the Voter Registration exercise”, Justice Chulu said.

Justice Chulu said that the project would focus on five components includinmg, enhancing institutional and functional efficiency of the ECZ to conduct quality and cost effective elections, enhancing the Integrity of the outcome of elections through vote counting and tallying processes.

He said that other components were building capacity of political parties’ preparedness for elections by strengthening women leadership in political parties, institutional effectiveness of early warning, incident mapping, and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and enhancing the media’s credibility in the electoral process.

Justice Chulu expressed gratitude to the government and cooperating partners stating that the consolidated support will contribute to transparent, efficient and inclusive electoral process as well as increased citizen participation in national matters.

He said the resources for the programme amounted to approximately US$9.9 million dollars over two years of which US$7.7 million dollars was made available by the cooperative agreement, which wouldd be implemented by ECZ, and other national and non-State institutions such as the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship Office, Zambia Police, the media and civil society. Justice Chulu said that Zambia had an admirable record of peace and stability which was admired worldwide and that it should therefore be cherished and guarded.

“Let us set a new record as a nation and ensure that the 2016 general elections are conducted in a cordial and peaceful atmosphere. This can only be achieved if we all take responsibility individually and severally to observe the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct”, Justice Chulu said.

Mr Chilu has since appealed to all political parties, civil society and the media sensitize the electorate and that political parties’ candidates with their supporters need to embrace one another and desist from provocative acts.

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