Showing posts with label UPND. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UPND. Show all posts

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

2016 Manifestos: What PF And UPND Are Bringing To The Table

Zambia holds general elections every 5 years
By Paul Shalala
They launched their campaigns and unveiled their manifestos for the next years.
The ‘big boys’ President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema had a field day on Saturday as they pulled record crowds to show their popularity.
Social media was abuzz with photos of ‘mammoth’ rallies, over crowded venues and thousands of cheering supporters on the streets.
What went viral on social media were these images of supporters.
The real message was however missing from the conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else.
People were not talking about the manifestos that were unveiled.
Being the two major players in this year’s elections, the PF and UPND are of interest to the 6, 710, 455 registered voters.
Due to their bulky nature, these manifestos may be too long for the man on the street to read and digest.
But this blogger has summarised and analysed them.
Below is a short summary of the major issues in the two respective manifestos.
President Lungu at the launch of the PF manifesto
PF MANIFESTO 2016 – 2021

During the launch of the campaign at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka, President Lungu said the PF manifesto will ensure it continues with the developmental projects started in 2011.

President Lungu, who prides himself with a number of developmental projects done under his administration and that of the late President Michael Sata within the past five years, is running a campaign anchored on development where PF members are challenging the opposition to ‘Sontapo’ (Point) at what they have done for the nation.
Below are some of the summarised excepts from the PF manifesto as adapted from the launch speech:
HEALTH: We shall embark on making Zambia a Medical Hub. Instead of referring patients abroad, we shall transform selected Health facilities into Centres of Excellency where Zambian can access specialised services.
We will venture into a new era of the growing medicinal plants such as Itembusha and its associated Industries.
EDUCATION: On Education, Children will be equipped with the necessary skills by ensuring that there are enough Books, Teachers, Desks and Computers.

Learning Institutions will be fitted with State of the Art equipment and technology.
AGRICULTURE: We shall diversify the Agriculture and expand the livestock Sectors to ensure food security and make Zambia the bread basket in the region
Part of the PF supporters at Heroes National Stadium
ENERGY: With the PF government's massive invested in the energy sector, loadshedding is shortly become a thing of the past.
We shall complete and expand the projects we have started in Solar, Coal and Hydro
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT: The Patriotic Front will continue with the infrastructure development as we are the only ones who can finish them because we have the experience and the tested capacity to deliver.
We shall empower Councils countrywide to build low-cost Houses in order to improve the living stands of our people and upgrade the Townships. Once re-elected, we will complete the remaining road projects

The UPND Manifesto 2016 – 2021
On Saturday, Mr Hichilema unveiled the party’s new manifesto which is anchored on economic revival.
HH at the UPND manifesto launch in Kitwe
This was at a rally held at Kitwe’s Freedom Park grounds.
This manifesto puts Mr Hichilema at the center of the 10 points and describes him as a ‘fixer’ who will use his economics profession to resuscitate the Zambian economy.
Below is the verbatim of all the Ten Points Plan as posted on the UPND website:
Point One: We plan to start with job creation and employment. From the first day in office, our Government will help Zambian companies to create jobs, by ensuring we start manufacturing most of the things we import. Isn’t it an embarrassment that we are importing toothpicks? Are you telling me we can fail to make toothpicks? We will promote investment, trade and economic growth, diversifying the economy and investing in under-developed sectors with huge potential for job and wealth creation such as tourism.
Point Two: We will be an attack on poverty and inequality, with a strong focus on youth and women. On day one we will start addressing youth and women empowerment. The women folk present here today, can’t you sow uniforms. So why can’t Government give you contracts to supply uniforms in Government schools? Youths are found making furniture at Nakadoli market. Why is Government importing furniture for their offices and not buying furniture from Nakadoli market? This is what we mean by empowering women and the youth when you give us a vote.
Point Three: We will be investing in our people through education. There is no nation in this world that has advanced without a population that has the right skills. The youths that will be making chairs and desks for Government schools will need education before they get skills to start making desks. Our women who will be supplying uniforms to Government schools need education first before they can learn knitting and tailoring. This is why we are saying education for all is a must. The waste we shall save from ending corruption in procurement of Government goods and services, by-elections and other areas will be invested in education. Now listen carefully here. In Zambia building a road costs 2 million dollars per kilometer, while in South Africa its 400,000 dollars. This means the money we pay for one kilometer, you can do 5 kilometers in South Africa. Why are our roads expensive? It’s because of corruption.
Point Four: The PF has failed to run the power sector resulting in load-shedding, limited and unreliable access and high costs of production. How are businesses supposed to operate under such conditions? Our plan is very simple, we are discussing with the private sector to build power stations from renewables. What do I mean colleagues? Zesco is broke that they cannot build new power stations, we will talk to our friends in the private sector to build power stations, and the power produced will be sold to ZESCO, that is how we will end load shedding.
Part of the UPND supporters at the launch
Point Five: We will improve competitiveness so that our local businesses can grow and create jobs, and new ones can start up. We will tackle areas such as heavy regulation, the high costs of transport and trade, access to finance and power supply.
Point Six: We will focus on aggressively cutting Government waste. We are not going to have 71 ministers in our Government the way our friends did. We are going to reduce on the number of ministers and review their conditions of service. A minister gets 800 liters of fuel per month, that is about 500,000 kwacha for the entire cabinet. By the end of the 5 years of PF we will have spent over 29 billion old currency on fuel for ministers. This does not include the free phones, cars, housing and many other things we provide to them. We cannot continue making a few people rich at the expense of 14 million Zambians.
Point Seven: We will develop our agriculture sector. Our job once you put us in power is to reduce the price of mealie meal. How will we do this? We will increase farmer support in both input provision and reduce the unit cost of production. In this country a farmer produces about 40 bags of maize per hectare when it is possible to produce 100 bags with the same inputs. What farmers need is a robust extension service system so that they can produce more by improving their management of fields. Once this happens then the price of a 50kg bag of maize will come down and with it mealie meal. We will also help farmers diversify their crop to produce other foods and grow produce for neighbouring countries.
Point Eight: We will end the flip-flops and policy inconsistencies that are costing people jobs. In this place over 10,000 miners and their affiliates lost employment. And the PF Government looked on as our people were losing jobs. From the time the PF took over they have changed mining tax policy three times, scaring investors away. What we are doing immediately you give us the instruments of power is to instill confidence in the economy. As a responsible Government we will rather lose a bit of mineral royalty than see you lose your wages and your livelihood.
Point Nine: Building a healthy nation, cannot be compromised on. Colleagues, people are going to hospitals that have no medicines and doctors. We have a shortage of over 13,000 nurses and yet we have thousands of young people looking for jobs – another PF miscalculation. Meanwhile, the high maternal mortality rate remains a stain on the conscience of our nation. Immediately we take office we are reforming procurement of medicines in hospitals. The money we will save from a reduced cabinet and corruption will be used to hire nurses, doctors and buy medicines. We have already spoken to people that are willing to come and set up mini water plants in places like Chamboli so that you people can have access to piped water.
Point Ten: Good Governance. Zambians under PF are living in fear. If you say something against the Government or the President, then you are threatened with arrest. Police are being misused by the PF. People have to apply for permits to have church meetings. We are taking over Government to ensure that Zambians can enjoy their rights. We will immediately repeal the Public Order Act. We are also going to embark on reforming the Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to make them independent bodies to pursue corrupt elements. There will be no sacred cows in a UPND-led Government. We need to fight corruption to the bitter end, it has made us poor and I am telling you now, anyone who is corrupt will face the law. Corruption is a cancer that needs to be aggressively tackled.

With the above manifestos, Zambians can now start analysing the two parties based on what they are bringing to the table.
Of course without disadvantaging the other ‘third parties’ who are yet to unveil their manifestos, this blogger will endeavour to analyse and summarise each and every party manifesto as and when they are released by the respective parties.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Zambia's Main Parties Launch Their Election Campaigns On Saturday

By Paul Shalala

It is being called Big Saturday by those so passionate about this year's campaigns.

It is a day when the 'Big Boys' get to the people, tell them what they have done and what they offer them for the next five years.

On Saturday, the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) are both expected to launch their 2016 campaigns and their manifestos.

This follows the start of the officially sanctioned election period which commenced on 16 May.

PF will hold its launch at the 60,000 Heroes National Stadium in the capital Lusaka while the UPND will hold its launch at Freedom Park in Kitwe on the Copperbelt.

PF and UPND are the big boys of the 2016 general elections while the rest of the more than two dozen political parties are treated like what American political pundits call 'Third parties.'

President Edgar Lungu, who won a bitterly fought poll in January last year following the death of President Michael Sata in October 2014, is hoping to get a full five year mandate of his own on top of the one year seven months he would have served by the time the polls will be held on 11 August.

Using his position as the incumbent President, his access to public media, ruling party loyalists and the support of a number of immediate past opposition Members of Parliament, President Lungu straight away becomes a frontrunner and hopes to get a clean sweep of the votes.

Bolstered by the completion of the construction of several roads, schools, hospitals and several other infrastructure, the ruling party handlers have even coined the campaign slogan 'Sonta Epowabomba' meaning 'Point At What You Done' to project the President as a working head of state.

Key to President Lungu's campaign will be the person he will choose as his running mate.

Repeatedly, he has announced that his running mate will be a woman.

At the campaign launch, President Lungu is also expected to unveil the names of all candidates who have been adopted to contest the 156 parliamentary seats as well as the local government seats.

On the other hand, President Lungu's arch-rival Hakainde Hichilema of the UPND will be giving it a try for a straight fifth time.

This follows his unsuccessful presidential bids in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2015.

Bolstered by the defection of several immediate past ruling and other opposition Members of Parliament including former President Sata's son Mulenga, Hichilema is positioning himself as an alternative to the PF.

With the recent economic challenges the country has faced such as the electricity crisis, high inflation and increase in prices of mealie meal, Mr Hichilema has been presenting himself as 'Mr Fixer' who will use his vast knowledge in economics to bring hope to Zambians.

According to some observers, his choice of a running mate is being narrowed down to two of his deputies in his party.

Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, who is popularly known as GBM, is a wealthy politician who is a former Defence Minister and immediate past ruling party Member of Parliament in Kasama Central Constituency in the Northern Province of Zambia.

Another UPND Vice President is Dr. Canicius Banda, a medical personnel-cum politician whose rhetoric at public rallies usually makes headlines.

The UPND is also likely to unveil its candidates for parliament and local government at the launch.

Both parties will be hoping to win the elections in the first round due to the fact that in the second round, a re-run is usually a difficult task due to the high stakes.

The amendments to the constitution enacted in January 2016 provide for presidential candidates to be elected through a majoritarian system by amassing 50% plus one or more votes.

The new laws also provide for a Vice President who is elected during the general elections as a Running Mate, a provision Zambians have been crying for since 1991.

For the former ruling party the MMD, the party is still rocked by indiscipline and infighting.

A faction allied to the party president Dr. Nevers Mumba seems prepared to contest the elections under him while another faction led by immediate past Lunte MP Felix Mutati is pushing for a party convention this weekend to choose a presidential candidate.

Just like last year, the MMD is yet again finding itself fighting during an election period and its presidential candidates may risk being 'beaten' by the number of rejected ballots just like Dr. Mumba did in 2015.

Other politicians who are likely to contest this year's presidential elections are FDD's Edith Nawakwi, Wynter Kabimba of the Rainbow Party and the Green Party's Peter Sinkamba.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Zambia Adopts New Electoral Rules, Sets Elections On 11 August

By Paul Shalala
President Lungu assenting to the Constitution Bill

Zambia has today adopted a new set of electoral laws that has set a new date for the forthcoming general elections and introduced what has been described as 'progressive clauses.'

This afternoon, Zambian President Edgar Lungu assented to the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill of 2015 which has come with several laws that had been eluding the Zambian people for decades.

Since the 1990s, Zambians had been submitting to countless Constitution Review Commissions to amend the electoral laws which date back to the colonial days.

Some of the laws Zambians have been seeking to be done away with include the first-past-the-post-takes-all electoral system and the appointment of a republican Vice President by the head of state.

Despite draft constitutions and reports being produced and circulated, successive governments have not been acting on the recommendations, rendering the whole constitution making process dead for years.

The signing ceremony was held this afternoon at the Chinese made National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka, a site where the Zambian head of state was inaugurated as the country's sixth President 12 months ago after winning a tightly contested poll following the demise of Michael Sata.

"There comes a time when people's cries on an issue must come to an end....... As leaders, we have to listen to the voice of the people..... When i was being sworn in as President last year, i promise to give you a new constitution and here it is," said President Lungu.

He also reiterated his desire to have the rest of the draft constitution be passed through a referendum that he has tied to the next general elections set for later this year.

When the bill was tabled before parliament at the end of 2015, the ruling Patriotic Front allied itself with the opposition MMD to gunner the much needed votes to pass the bill which was opposed by the opposition UPND, FDD and ADD.

And in his speech, President Lungu acknowledged the role the MMD parliamentarians played.

"The MMD gives me hope with its civic roles it played in the house," he said as MMD President Nevers Mumba who was seated in the VIP section of the stadium nodded his head.

Among the electoral reforms the new law has brought is the 50 plus one majoritarian election of a president and the Vice President Running mate clause.

The new laws have set second Thursday of August every after five years as the election date.

This means that this year, Zambians will vote for their new President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In the old constitution, Zambia's Presidents had the power to set an election date which stakeholders had complained that it was being used to disadvantage the opposition.

Further, the law has also adopted dual citizenship, a concept that scores of Zambians have been crying for, especially those in the diaspora.

To the delight of many, the requirement for all presidential candidates to have both their parents being born in Zambia has been scrapped off.

This is a law that was passed in the 1990s which many say was targeted at Zambia's founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda from participating in elections after he lost the 1991 democratic elections.

Despite this milestone for good governance campaigners, several civil society organisations and opposition political parties were opposed to the adoption of these progressive laws through parliament.

Operating under a loose consortium calling itself the Grand Coalition on The Enactment of a People Driven Constitution, non-governmental organisations even picketed parliament to block the bill last year.

On 23rd October 2014 when the final draft constitution was released, government announced it will adopt the contentious closes through Parliament and later subject the whole document to a national referendum.

But the Grand Coalition opposed the move opting for a referendum to adopt the whole document before the general elections.

Even after the bill was passed by law makers, the Grand Coalition even called on President Lungu not to assent to it.

With the enactment of these laws, the bigger job of enacting the whole constitution still lies ahead.

Zambia Parliament in session
The Bill of Rights, whose review triggers a referendum, is yet to be put on the ballot and as promised by President Lungu, will be voted together with candidates for President, Members of Parliament and Councillors on 11th August.

In May 2015, Justice Minister Ngosa Simbyakula announced that government had appointed Commissioners of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as members of the Referendum Commission.

This means that the ECZ will conduct the 2016 General Elections simultaneously with the referendum on the constitution.

According to the Referendum Act, all Zambians in possession of the green National Registration Card are eligible to vote in the referendum which is usually conducted in a YES or NO fashion.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Background Of Inonge Wina: Zambia's First Female Vice President

Inonge Mutukwa Wina (born April 2, 1941) is a Zambian politician who has become 13th Vice President of Zambia since 1964. She is the first female to hold the position making her the highest ranking female in the history of Zambia.
Wina attended primary school in Senanga, at the Barotse National School (now Kambule Secondary School) in Mongu. She eventually completed her high school education at Santa Monica High School in Los Angeles, California.
She obtained a diploma in social works at Santa Monica City College. She also read for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Zambia when it was first opened.
Community service
Wina's passion for community work dates back to the early 1970s when she gave free service to women's movements as a volunteer. She has served on a number of boards of Non Governmental Organisations and as president of the Young Women's Christian Association, where she was instrumental in promoting women's human rights agenda, resulting in the Zambian government's establishment of the Victim Support Unit under the Zambia Police Service.
In 1996, she was elected National Chairperson of the NGO Coordinating Council of Zambia (NGOCC). In 2000, Wina led the women's movement in the Red Ribbon Campaign in defence of the Zambian Constitution.
Wina also served as director on a number of boards in the public sector; this included Refuge Services Zambia, Zambia Council of Social Services, University Teaching Hospital, and the University of Zambia Council.
Political career
In 2001 Wina was elected as Member of Parliament of Nalolo Constituency as a candidate of the United Party for National Development. She was elected chairperson of a number of portfolio committees, including the Committee on Human Rights Gender and Governance, and Women Parliamentary Caucus.
In the 2006 presidential and general elections, Wina re-contested her Nalolo seat as a candidate of the United Liberal Party. She lost the election and petitioned the results in the High Court; the case was ruled in her favour but later overturned by the Supreme Court.
In the 2011 general elections, Wina again contested the Nalolo seat, this time under the Patriotic Front ticket, and won. Wina was included in President Michael Sata's initial 18-member cabinet as Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs. On March 8, 2014, Sata, during the commemoration of International Women's Day, upgraded the gender cabinet division into a full ministry and subsequently appointed Wina as Minister of Gender.
On January 26, 2015, newly elected President Edgar Lungu appointed Wina as Vice President of Zambia.
Personal life
She was married to Arthur Wina, a freedom fighter, former minister and academic who died on 3 September 1995.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Zambia's New President Edgar Lungu Re-appoints Most Ministers

President Lungu congratulates Ms Wina
By Paul Shalala in Ndola

Zambia's new President Edgar Lungu has reappointed most of the Cabinet Ministers he served with in the late President Michael Sata's Cabinet.

Mr Lungu, who was sworn in on Sunday after winning the hotly contested 20 January Presidential poll, dissolved the previous Cabinet and swore in a new one on Monday.

Prominent among the appointments is Nalolo Member of Parliament Inonge Wina who he swore in as Vice President, a development which has been widely welcomed by stakeholders.

Ms Wina replaces Dr Guy Scott who deputised the late Sata since 2011.

She becomes the first ever female Vice President in Zambia.

Others re-appointed to Cabinet are Justice Minister Dr. Ngosa Simbyakula who served as Home Affairs Minister, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda who retained his position and Harry Kalaba who has also retained his Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Others appointed are Dr Joseph Kasonde who has retained his Health Ministerial post while Chipili Member of Parliament Davies Mwila was sworn in as Home Affairs Minister.

President Lungu swears in Mr Chanda
He also swore in Solwezi Central UPND MP Dawson Kafwaya as North Western Province Minister and announced the appointment of Mongu Central MP Nathaniel Mubukwanu as Southern Province Minister to take over from Daniel Munkombwe who campaigned for UPND President Hakainde Hichilema during last week's presidential election.

President Lungu announced that he will announce the remaining ministerial appointees when he returns from the African Union Summit in Ethiopia in a few days time.

Other non-ministerial appointees the head of state swore in were his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, Special Assistant for Political Affairs Kaizar Zulu and State House Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Rains Pound The Nation As Zambians Vote For New President

A Zambian voter
By Paul Shalala

Over five million registered voters are today casting their ballots to chose a new President following the death of Michael Sata in October 2014 despite heavy rains that have hit the nation.

On the ballot paper are 11 presidential candidates who have campaigned for the top job in the land over the past two months.

According to several commentators, the main battle is between the ruling PF’s Edgar Lungu and opposition UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema who have been trading allegations of incapacity to run the nation amongst themselves.

A check across several areas of Lusaka has shown long queues forming outside polling stations as early voters as voters started queuing up as early as 05:00hrs.

Meanwhile, Acting President Dr. Guy Scott this morning made an impromptu visit to Mr. Price store at Manda Hill Shopping Mall where he found people working and ordered management to close the shop.

Dr. Scott declared polling day an official holiday to allow those in formal employment to vote.

And Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson Irene Mambiliima says the final election results are expected to be announced by Friday this week depending on the weather.

Zambia is at the moment experiencing heavy rains and the Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rains especially in the southern part of the country.

Early this morning, heavy rains were reported in Lusaka, Kafue, Kabwe and several parts of Southern Province.

The commission is this time using the electronic vote announcement system which is expected to be faster than the manual system used in previous polls.

The ECZ is expected to start holding periodic press briefings at the Mulungushi International Conference in Lusaka to announce presidential results as they trickle in from the 150 parliamentary constituencies.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Politicians Reflect On Zambia's Post-Independence Era

By Paul Shalala
The Golden Jubilee logo

As Zambia celebrates its golden jubilee, it can not be denied that politics has been an integral part of its last 50 years.

To gain independence from the British, Zambian freedom fighters grouped together into political entities to free themselves from colonial dominance.

In the first 8 years of the country's independence, multi-party politics flourished but in 1972, the constitution was changed to the one party state until 1991 when the country reverted back to multi-party politics.

In its reflection of the Golden Jubilee, the Foundation for Democratic Process  says Zambia's politics are not yet mature due to a colonial era constitution.

"We need mature politics devoid of violence or intimidation. Our institutions to support democracy are still weak," said macDonald Chipenzi, FODEP Executive Director.

And Tom Ngenda, an economics lecturer at Cavendish University in Lusaka says political parties have over the past 50 years crafted their party manifestos from their initial socialist inclination to the current economic appeal to voters.

"In the past, political parties used to craft their manifestos in such a way that they wanted to get into office. Now the parties have manifestos that appeal to people to vote for them so that they can bring economic development to Zambia," said Ngenda in an interview at his office.

For the ruling Patriotic Front which has been part of Zambia's history in the past 13 years, Zambian politics has evolved for the better.

"We have alot to celebrate as a nation. We have come a long way politically and it is time the nation got united and celebrated the golden jubilee together," said Edgar Lungu, Secretary general of the Patriotic Front.

But opposition political parties have different views on how politics have impacted the nation since independence.

"There is nothing to celebrate. Fuel prices are high. The cost of living has gone up. Basically, we have nothing to celebrate as a nation because we have no economic independence," said Hakainde Hichilema, President of the opposition UPND.

Mr Hichilema's sentiments are echoed by Zambia Development Conference President Langton Sichone.

"How can we celebrate the so called Golden Jubilee when we still have an old colonial constitution? We have nothing to celebrate in the last 50 years," said Sichone.

The main celebrations for Zambia's Golden Jubilee will be held at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka where various activities will take place.

Both military and civilian performances will spice up the event which has attracted several leaders from around the world.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Hichilema Calls For Referendum Before 2016

Hakainde Hichilema
By Paul Shalala

Opposition UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has directed his Members of Parliament to push for a new legal framework that will guarantee  a referendum as an avenue through which the new constitution will be adopted.

Mr Hichilema says a legal framework is the sure way in which the wishes and aspirations of the Zambian people will be retained in the final constitution.

Speaking during a press briefing today at the UPND Secretariat in Lusaka, Mr Hichilema said once this legal framework is put in place, it will ensure a bill of rights with provisions to protect journalists.

"Release the draft constitution so that we can all discuss it. MPs ensure there is a new legal framework to provide for a referendum so that in 2016 we have elections under a new constitution," he said.

He said the new constitution must also provide for a Vice President Running Mate clause to avoid presidential by-elections that are too costly for the nation.

"We need a progressive constitution, one that will make sure we do not have these useless by-elections. We can do it. Other countries have done it," said Mr Hichilema.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Edgar Lungu Outlines His Policy Directions For The Patriotic Front

Edgar Lungu dressing one of the defectors
By Paul Shalala

Newly appointed Patriotic Front Secretary General Edgar Lungu yesterday held his first interactive meeting with party officials where he outlined his policy direction for the ruling party.

Mr Lungu took over from Wynter kabimba who was dismissed as PF secretary General and Justice Minister in August after a long period of factionalism in the ruling party.

Th meeting, which was held at the Mulungushi International Conference Center in Lusaka, was attended by various Lusaka and Copperbelt-based PF structures.

In his wide ranging speech, Mr Lungu called for unity and peace in the ruling party as it seeks to regain power in two years time.

"Lets love one another. Lets end violence. We are all Sata's children. We can only win elections if we work together. I want to work with all of you. I dont have special people i will work with, its all of you i need," said Mr Lungu who also serves as Defence and Justice Minister.

The PF Secretary General also announced that the ruling party will soon embark on a countrywide party mobilisation exercise which will include primary elections.

Mr Lungu said all branch, ward and constituency committees will go through elections to allow party members elect their own leaders in preparation for the 2016 general elections.

"We want you to have leaders you have elected for yourselves. We know that through this democratic exercise, the bad elements in the party will be eliminated and rejected by you people," he added.

Later, Mr Lungu received 10 defecting councillors from the opposition ADD, MMD and UPND who are currently serving in District Councils in North Western and Western Provinces.

The defecting councillors said they had decided to join the ruling party to take development to their wards.

According to electoral regulations, voters in wards where their serving councillors have defected from their parties to another, will have to elect a new councillor within 90 days.

This means there will be local government by-elections in the 10 wards in Mwinilunga and Mongu Districts in the coming months.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

ECZ Runs Out Of Money For Continuous Voters Registration

Priscilla Isaac
By Paul Shalala

The Electoral commission of Zambia (ECZ) has disclosed that it is unable to conduct the continuous voter registration this year due to lack of funding.

ECZ Director Priscilla Isaac says the unending by-elections the country has witnessed this year have contributed to the loss of funds for voter education.

"This year we are unable to continue conducting the continuous voter registration exercise mainly due to lack of funds," said Isaac in an interview.

According to the Electoral Act, the ECZ is supposed to conduct voter registration through out the year.

The law however provides that the electoral body must halt the exercise in an event of parliamentary or local government by-elections.

Hakainde Hichilema
Meanwhile, Ms Isaac has disclosed that the commission will next year conduct a massive voter registration exercise ahead of the 2016 General Elections.

"For 2015, we are expected to conduct voter registration for the 2016 General Elections. This will be after we get funding from the National Budget," she said.

This year, the Electoral Commission of Zambia has conducted dozens of local government by-elections and several parliamentary by-elections which include Katuba, Kasenengwa, Mkushi South, Solwezi Central, Vubwi and Zambezi West.

Elias Chipimo Jr.
Currently, the ECZ is using the 2011 voters register which has 5, 167, 154 registered voters.

Opposition political parties have reacted angrily to this revelation.

"This shows how PF lacks priorities. If indeed government had priorities, continuous voters registration would have been well funded and supported," said Hakainde Hichilema, UPND President.

The failure by the ECZ to conduct continuous voter education is worrying because young people who have reached voting age will be defranchised," said Elias Chipimo Jr, NAREP President.

But ZADECO President Langton Sichome seems to have a solution to the problem.

"Let government come up with a supplementary which parliament can approve to allow the ECZ to conduct voter registration," said Sichone.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

FODEP Says Lack Of Continuous Voter Registration Causing Apathy

MacDonald Chipenzi

Dear Colleagues,

Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) monitored the just ended parliamentary by-elections in the five (5) constituencies by placing both stationed and roving monitors in selected polling stations.  FODEP is happy to present to you its observations and analysis of the just ended by-elections.

From the onset, FODEP would like to congratulate the ruling PF, UPND and MMD for scooping three (3) and one apiece respectively out of the five parliament by-elections held on 11th September 2014 and the peaceful, disciplined environment in which the elections were held. We hope the winners will celebrate responsibly while the losers prepare for themselves for 2016.  We want to further commend all political parties, their supporters and all stakeholders in the electoral process for ensuring that the just ended by-elections proceeded on well, peacefully and orderly.

The management and administration of the electoral process by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) also deserves commendation. We will be failing in our duty too if we do not recognize and appreciate the efforts Zambia Police Force put in maintaining law and order throughout the election process. To all, we say well done and further encourage them to continue cherishing peaceful means of conflict resolution in future elections.

FODEP however, bemoans the high levels of voter apathy that characterized the by-elections. To illustrate this, Zambezi West with 10,206 voters only 4924 voters cast their votes representing 48.2% the highest turn out in this round of by-elections. Kasenengwa with 41, 795 had 15,141 voters voting representing 36.2% turnout. Vubwi with 18,084 registered voters had only about 6,693 voters casting their votes representing 37.0% while Solwezi Central with 52,900 voters only had about 10,403 casting their votes representing 19.67% turnout. Mkushi South in Luano District with 12,793 had only about 4,738 voters casting their vote representing 37.04%. As illustrated above, all the constituencies failed to score 50% voter turnout.

This is a trend that we need to contain before it undermines the 2016 tripartite elections. Lack or limited voter education, distances to the polling stations, disconnect between the elected and electors, poor service delivery e.g. government’s failure to purchase maize through Food Reserve Agency (FRA), fear of precedents of violence and intimidation and un-updated voters’ register were cited as reasons for poor voter turnout in some constituencies.

Nonetheless, the results from the five constituencies show very interesting electoral and political trends. The victories and losses scored were as a result of various variables ranging from political party and candidates’ strengths and popularities respectively to urban-rural divide and desire to be close the party in power. More importantly though about these by-elections is the fact that they have “given birth” to three (3) women parliamentarians, increasing the percentage of women in the House. They have sent a strong signal that women can compete and win even competitive electoral contests and defeat their menfolk.

FODEP further noted the regional voting pattern which was conspicuously reflected out of these five by-elections. For instance, UPND was either second to the ruling party or first in areas where it is traditionally strong so is the MMD while PF has performed well in areas where it is also traditionally strong and took advantage of the incumbency in other areas to dilute and usurp opposition strength in their strongholds. 

FODEP’s analysis shows that Solwezi Central and Kasenengwa constituencies both located in an urban set-up were won by the opposition while Mkushi South, Vubwi and Zambezi West which are rural constituencies were scooped by the ruling party. This entails that the rural vote is favoring the party in power while the urban vote which helped the current party assume power is steadily being eroded. 

Another interesting aspect is that the election results were in favour of the ruling party in both constituencies where new districts have been declared such as Vubwi and Mkushi South (Luano District). In Luano District under Mkushi South Constituency voters could also been showing appreciation to the government for killing the Miloni Brothers who terrorized them for years. In Zambezi West, the overstaying of the losing candidate for the UPND could have caused despondence among voters who opted for a change.

It is an undeniable fact that the electoral results show that PF is making inroads in opposition strongholds as evidenced in Vubwi, Kasenengwa, Solwezi, Mkushi and Zambezi West constituencies partly because some of the constituencies have been associated with the ruling parties for some time except that 2011 elections put them on the other side of the coin. The ruling party religious used development projects as a campaign bait such as road construction, communications towers, agriculture marketing, etc. The indiscriminate used of government facilities, resources and the dangling of development projects to constituencies where elections too place by the government ministers who flooded the constituencies with a lot of promises and pledges undermined the freeness and fairness of the vote.

Regardless, the final analysis and cumulatively indicate that the opposition has lost majority in parliament which will now strengthen the “tyranny of the majority syndrome” and the “arrogance of numbers by the ruling party in the House. Resultantly, however, the MMD, which has becoming a political and electoral fishing pond for both PF and UPND, has suffered the greatest loss because all the seats save for one, contested belonged to it but only retained one. The UPND despite grabbing a seat from MMD i.e. Solwezi Central, has lost its own seat to the ruling party -Zambezi West. Therefore, Zambia is back to the pre-2001 elections where parliament was one party dominated. This situation will undermine democratic accountability in Zambia due to its weakened oversight role. The situation may also have a negative implication on the constitution making process as government may arrogantly opt for a constitutional amendment now that it has increased its numbers in parliament.

Further implication of the electoral results is that Zambia’s “electoral weather” is not static but unpredictable and defeats political parties’ argument that their popularity in 2011 remains strong throughout a 5-year electoral cycle in areas they won elections.  As can be observed some political parties are losing grip of their constituencies at very alarming rate while others are gaining ground 3 years since 2011. There is need for serious reflection and packaging of their messages or indeed relooking at the popularity and caliber of the candidates being adopted. Zambians political system should not be blind to the dangers of allowing weakened opposition in parliamentary as it will undermine parliamentary democracy and accountability.

Finally, FODEP is happy with the manner the Commission transparently managed the just ended election process. However, though the legal framework mandates the Commission to announce the results within 48hrs, it is worrying that, in the midst of high levels of apathy, electoral results are taking long to be released like in situation of high voter turn-out. It is for this reason that FODEP supports the introduction of the electronic result transmission system with the hope that it will resolve the issue of result delayed release of elections results and appeals to all stakeholders to embrace the system.

In conclusion, the just ended parliamentary elections were transparent. However, there is need to continue working towards improving the level playing field on media coverage, use of government resources and unaccounted for time by ministers who spend much of their time in the campaigns rather than serving the citizens. Their presence in numbers has exploited the process to their advantage. To this end, FODEP calls for an urgent need for electoral reforms ahead of the 2016 tripartite elections.