The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says it remains firm on the warning it issued against violent cadres and has since challenged leaders of political parties to be aware of their responsibilities and duties so as to promote peace ahead of the 11th August, 2016 general elections and referendum.
Speaking to journalists in Lusaka ECZ Public Relations Manager Cris Akufuna said the Commission was compelled to issue a warning because of rising levels of intolerance and escalating violence.
“That warning was issued as a deterrent to firstly remind political parties that the commission has powers but secondly, to also remind them of their responsibility and duty in their respective political parties, especially the leadership,” he said.
Mr. Akufuna said since the warning was issued, ECZ has received some comments from various stakeholders, with some applauding while others have been wondering how the matter would be handled.
“ECZ is looking at what is happening, the unfolding of events given the findings on the ground the Commission will take action, matters that border on criminality will be handled by the Zambia Police,” he said. Mr Akufuna said the Commission had directed district electoral officers in districts to be the eyes of the Commission.
“At every district level we have conflict management committees and these are the first reference points for any dispute and so what we expect is that, for all players in the electoral process that have grievances, they should channel them through the district conflict management committees,” he said.
Mr. Akufuna said if those lodging their complaint at the district conflict management committee felt that it was inadequate, they could take the matter up to the national conflict management committee in Lusaka.
“The national conflict management committee will then summon the political parties or indeed other stakeholders involved to look at the issue before the Commission steps in, so that is the structure we have on the ground and that is what we expect,” he said.
He revealed that ECZ had so far received one complaint from the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) p
resident Ms. Edith Nawakwi in a matter where her member was hospitalized in Namwala and that she was advised to formally lodge the complaint in writing using the established structures by the ECZ.