Power and Politics

Church group urges police to allow political engagement ahead of ward by-elections


The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) has called on the police to allow political parties to engage with citizens as campaigns for the July 12, 2024, Ward by-elections commence.

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) had set July 12, 2024, as the date for by-elections in nine wards, following one death and eight resignations.

Presenting the organization’s findings on the June 11, 2024, nomination activities for the by-elections in Lusaka on Monday, CCMG Steering Committee Chairperson, Bishop Andrew Mwenda, stated the need for the police to provide security for all candidates.

Mwenda further urged the ECZ to ensure strict and transparent enforcement of the Electoral Code of Conduct during the campaigns.

“We wish to encourage any stakeholders who are aggrieved in the electoral process or any Electoral Code of Conduct violations to report their concerns to CCMG, the ECZ and the Police, as appropriate,” he advised.

Mwenda commended the ECZ’s efforts through stakeholder engagements to share information about the by-election process, including compliance and adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He highlighted the importance of understanding the nomination process and requirements and the roles and responsibilities of the Zambia Police, political parties and candidates, media, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and election monitors/observers.

Read More: Socialist Party cries foul over by-elections won by UPND, alleges vote-buying, intimidation

“Adherence to nomination procedures and the absence of reports of disruptions or politically-motivated harassment and violence during the June 11, 2024 nominations is highly commendable,” Mwenda stated.

He encouraged political parties, candidates and their supporters to conduct their campaigns peacefully and according to established campaign schedules.

While CCMG was aware of the allegations raised by the Socialist Party related to the nomination process, Mwenda noted that the group was unable to independently verify the claims.

“CCMG deployed nine Long Term Observers (LTOs), one to each of the nomination centers in the wards, to monitor the nomination process,” he stated.

Mwenda reported that CCMG’s LTOs did not witness or hear of any incidents of disruption of the nomination process, harassment or intimidation of ECZ officials or candidates, or the use of derogatory language.

Additionally, the observers, it is reported, did not witness any reports of malpractice in attaining the required number of supporters, nor were accredited party agents or monitors denied access to the nomination centers.

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