|Some of the EU observers -Pictures by EU EOM Zambia|
By Paul Shalala
The European Union (EU) has deployed 100 electoral observers to Zambia’s 10 provinces to monitor the August 11 general elections.
The EU Election Observation Mission is led by former Italian Minister of Integration Cecile Kyenge, who is also a Member of the European Parliament.
According to a Factsheet posted on the mission’s website, the team consists of both short term and long term observers.
“The Core Team (CT) is a group of 8 election experts from different EU member states. They arrived in Lusaka on 29 June to set up and coordinate the EU EOM. They analyse every aspect of the electoral process, including political, electoral and legal issues. The CT also monitors the Zambian media, and it is supported by logistical and security experts,” reads part of the statement on the website.
Since its arrival last month, the team has already mobilised and been deployed.
“The Long-Term Observers (LTOs) are the eyes and ears of the EU EOM. 24 LTOs from 23 EU member states and Norway arrived in Zambia on 11 July to be deployed to all ten provinces a few days later. In teams of two, they observe the whole electoral process in their areas of responsibility, and report back to the CT in Lusaka. The Short-Term Observers (STOs) reinforce the mission shortly before Election Day. 56 STOs from 28 EU member states and Norway arrive to observe voting, counting and tabulation in polling stations in all provinces of Zambia.”
|The EU observers at a press briefing in Lusaka recently|
Unlike most international observation missions which monitored Zambia’s recent elections with teams only based in Lusaka, the EU team seem to have taken a different approach to monitor the polls across the ten provinces.
As part of its preparations for the elections, the EU Observation team visited the Copperbelt over the weekend to meet various stakeholders.
Ms Kyenge led the team and she had meetings with leaders from the civil society and political parties.
As per tradition, the EU team will publish its findings in a Preliminary Statement shortly after the polls and it will release its final report in October.
The EU joins SADC and the African Union who have already sent their observers to Zambia.
The country holds general elections on 11 August to elect a President, Members of Parliament, Mayors, Council Chairmen and Councillors.
Zambia has seven million registered voters spread across its 156 constituencies.
Nine candidates are contesting the presidency, including incumbent Edgar Lungu who was elected in January 2015 following the death of his predecessor Michael Sata in October 2014.