Power and Politics

Christian group claims recent Katanda ward by-election in Dundumwezi not free, fair


The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to rescind its decision to declare a winner in the Katanda Ward by-election, based on an unopposed candidate.

CCMG Chairperson Bishop, Andrew Mwenda, said the call to ECZ followed reported violations of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016, Section 83.

Mwenda was reacting to election results for Katanda Ward by-election in Dundumwezi Constituency which saw ruling United Party for National Development candidate, Nkuyanda Malawo, emerged unopposed as the winner.

He said CCMG’ observer reported intimidation and harassment of opposition political party candidates’ supporters, which resulted in their inability to file in nominations.

“CCMG is saddened by the reports of intimidation that characterized the nominations in the Katanda by-election on September 7,” Mwenda said.

He said that it was alleged that UPND supporters harassed and intimidated the Leadership Movement (LM) and Patriotic Front (PF) candidates and their supporters.

Mwenda said this prevented them from filling their nominations, although the CCMG observer reported that the LM candidate was the first at the venue.

“It is also alleged that this happened in full view of the Police and the Electoral Commission of Zambia officers, in the case of the PF candidate,” he said.

Mwenda cautioned that in a democracy, there must be a level playing field for persons interested in elective office to contest, which includes express ability to file nomination papers.

He said the reports received by CCMG indicated that the LM and PF candidates in the Katanda Ward by-election were not able to exercise this fundamental right and that officials responsible for ensuring the level playing field did nothing to protect that right.

“Therefore, we call upon the ECZ to rescind its decision to declare a winner for the by-election and re-organize the nomination process,” Mwenda said.

Read more:Electoral body, ECZ, claims 20,000 new voters captured in continuous voter registration exercise

He said these acts do not only undermine the electoral process, but expose serious weaknesses in the way that electoral laws and procedures are enforced by Police and ECZ officials present at such nomination processes.

Mwenda further called on the ECZ to investigate the conduct of its officials and the Zambia Police to act on the PF’s formal complaint against suspected UPND supporters for intimidation and harassment.

“CCMG reiterates its calls for urgent electoral reform that would see a change in the way that nominations are conducted,” he said.

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