Guard against electoral malpractice – EU

THE European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) has called on Zambians to guard against any form of electoral malpractice which could lead to electoral disputes and cast doubt on the credibility of the country’s electoral process.

EUEOM has also urged the general public and other stakeholders to report any electoral malpractice ahead of the August 11 elections and has called for transparent, fair and democratic elections.

Speaking at a press conference at InterContinental Hotel in Lusaka yesterday, EUEOM chief Observer Cecile Kyenge said that it was helpful to have aides, friends and additional eyes that could help get a better grasp of the full picture in an election.

She said that her team of hundred observers from different EU member States would be independent, impartial, maintain strict neutrality and that their job would include witnessing elections, media monitoring, observing campaigns, voting, counting, tabulation, appeals, and all other elements relating to the conduct of elections.

“We have heard of stories in Eastern Province but we have our officer there and so far nothing tangible has been concluded but we are monitoring and people should report any election malpractice. Our team will do a great service in Zambia” Ms Kyenge said.

Ms Kyenge has called on Zambians to have confidence in her team because they had the necessary experience and that they were ready to deliver an impartial and objective analysis of the electoral process in accordance with the national laws after the elections.

She disclosed that the observers would analyse the campaign environment, election preparation, the role of civil society, media and that on the day of the elections they would closely monitor the opening of the polling stations.

“The EU mission will assess the conduct of the media by monitoring key TV and radio stations as well as newspapers. Specifically at the access granted to political contestants and whether their coverage is fair and balanced,” she explained.

Ms Kyenge said that the EU attached great importance to the August 11 elections in Zambia because they were taking place in a sensitive environment, stating that it was the joint responsibility of all political parties, civil society organisations, media and the electoral administration to maintain peace.

She said that peaceful elections were very important and that the mission shared the hope echoed throughout the country that the process would be conducted without violence.

She explained that the team would issue a preliminary statement on the assessment of the elections and that they would be present if it became necessary to hold a second round for the presidential elections.

The European Union has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) to Zambia to observe the general elections and referendum scheduled for 11 August, 2016.