By Dr Nevers Mumba
ECZ SHOULD AHEAD OF TIME ADDRESS HOW THEY’LL HANDLE ELECTORAL DISPUTES TO AVOID CONFUSION
Ahead of the election, we need the Electoral Commission of Zambia to ensure that all possible outcomes are known, discussed, well agreed upon and understood by all parties involved.
In the last election in 2016, we had an abortive Presidential Petition that was not even heard on a technicality. We were told 14 days had elapsed. The interpretation was disputed and still splits opinions up to this day.
Secondly, we also had disagreement and dissatisfaction arising from the The Republican President and ruling Patriotic Front presidential candidate refusing to step aside and allow the Speaker to take over the running of the country in the event of a Presidential Petition as per constitutional provisions.
This year’s election even throws in more complex issues, For example what happens in the event that we have a disputed election that has not delivered a 50%+1 winner? What happens in the event that the election is Petitioned before the Re-Run? Who governs and what rules apply and what takes precedence?
Things could very easily spiral out of control, especially with the kind of Lacunas our constitution is well know for.
Already, we can’t seem to agree on what the Law says about Independent Parliamentary Candidates supporting a political party Presidency. ECZ has provided guidance on this matter recently, and yet have remained MUTE on matters where rebel factions of the MMD for example, and a section of the NDC as well, have made it their mission to hop from platform to platform claiming that they are supporting another Party Presidency (PF and UPND respectively in these two cases) and the ECZ, while fully aware of the potential disputes that may arise, have not addressed the public and made the necessary Pronouncements.
What other critical issues do you think the ECZ must address themselves to, and the nation, To ensure peace and order as we run up to the D-DAY?