The Independent Churches of Zambia (ICOZ) has called for the strengthening of the Electoral Commission of Zambia’ s (ECZ) powers to stop the unnecessary nullifications of parliamentary seats by the courts of law.
ICOZ Bishop David Masupa observed that the electoral powers should be given to ECZ to determine contenders eligible to participate in the polls so that money was not wasted on by elections.
He said that the costly by elections had deprived the country’s development and a lasting solution should be found to reverse the trend.
Bishop Masupa said it was discouraging that every week a parliamentary seat was nullified on account of electoral malpractices, a situation he said was a drawback.
He challenged the PF government to release the final draft constitution document so that it was revised and worked on immediately.
“These are some of the things which we expected the constitution to address, and this the reason why the PF government must take issue of constitution seriously,” he said.
Bishop Masupa said that as much as the people of Zambia had confidence it the judiciary, it was still questionable that opposition seats should be nullified almost on daily basis.
“That is why it is important that ECZ is mandated and given more powers to strengthen the electoral codes to disqualify candidates who are not suitable before they stand because without such powers seats will continue to be nullified,” he said.
He said nullifications of parliamentary seats had cost the nation a lot of tax payer’s money when the country had other sectors that needed funding.
The clergyman said the money used to hold by-elections could be used on other meaningful things to improve the living standards of the people.
“The people of Zambia are tired of by elections and want to see a government that is ready to pay attention to serious issues affecting the nation. It may seem to work to their advantage, but people feel frustrated and this has the capacity to make the electorates stay away from voting,” he said.
Bishop Masupa called on the law enforcement agencies to be proactive in fighting electoral malpractices especially during the campaigns.