The ruling United Party for National Development (UPND) says the proposal to permit a political party to appoint a replacement for a resigning member without holding a by-election is a threat to the fundamental democratic ideal of direct representation.
Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) has commenced consultations with political parties on the review of Elections Act.
This is in an effort to avoid holding by-elections when an incumbent Member of Parliament or Councillor resigned.
UPND National Youth Trust, Charles Kabwita, told Zambia Monitor in Lusaka on Monday that while it offered potential cost and efficiency benefits by mitigating the disruptions of frequent by-elections, it should be critically scrutinized.
Kabwita said this approach could raise concerns about the accountability of appointed representatives within their parties rather than to their constituents.
“Therefore, any implementation of such a measure demands thorough evaluation of its impact on democratic procedures and the assurance of genuine representation for constituents’ interests,” he emphasized.
The UPND National Youth Trust stated that in considering the proposal, it appeared that the essence of democratic representation might be compromised.
Kabwita said the people’s prerogative to select their representatives would be sidelined, potentially eroding the core principles of democracy.
“Regardless of circumstances such as resignation or unfortunate events like death, democracy inherently demands elections as a means for the people to assert their power and influence over governance,” he emphasized.
Kabwita said the rationale put forth by ZCID should acknowledge the multifaceted nature of democracy, recognizing that while it may be intricate and costly, its essence lies in empowering the populace through electoral processes.
He stated that any alterations to the processes should be approached with utmost caution and a thorough understanding of democratic principles.
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