CCMG Applauds ECZ for Conducting Successful and Violence-Free Nominations in Nine Wards Ahead of the 12 July Ward Councillor By-Elections

In preparations leading to the 12 July ward-level by-elections, which will take place to fill nine (9) seats (1 death and 8 resignations), the ECZ designated the nominations to be conducted on 11 June at the ward level. CCMG deployed nine (9) Long Term Observers (LTO), one to each of the nomination centres in the wards to monitor the nomination process.

Our Findings

All CCMG’s LTOs were permitted to observe the nominations following their accreditation by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). Overall, CCMG’s LTOs reported strong adherence to nomination procedures and the Electoral Code of Conduct by all stakeholders.

Further, CCMG’s LTOs reported representation of political parties and aspiring candidates in the nine (9) nomination centres during the nomination process as follows: the Patriotic Front (PF) was present in 44% (4 of 9), United Party for National Development (UPND) was present in 67% (6 of 9), while five (5) party agents were present in 55% (5 of 9) of the nomination centres. CCMG’s LTOs also reported that only 22% (2 of 9) of the nomination centres had monitors from other civil society organisations (CSO); that security officers were present in all of the nomination centres; and that on average, there were seven (7) ECZ officials including three (3) women at each nomination centre. However, CCMG LTOs reported that 55% (5 of 9) of nomination centres were inaccessible to persons with disabilities, as participants in the nomination processes had to use steps/stairs to access the centres.

In eight (8) wards, all political parties/aspiring candidates filed their nomination papers successfully. However, in Lushiba Ward (Kawambwa District/Luapula Province) the United National Independence Party (UNIP) candidate failed to provide complete party nomination papers and was not allowed to file his nomination. A total of 36 candidates filed their nomination papers successfully, including seven (7) women in five (5) wards.

In 22% (2 of 9) of the nomination processes, the appeals process to handle any disputes arising from the nomination process was adequately communicated to the attendees beforehand.

CCMG’s LTOs did not witness or hear of incidents of disruption of the nomination process, harassment or intimidation to ECZ or candidates, use of derogatory language, reports of malpractice in attaining the required number of supporters, accredited party agents, or monitors being denied access to the nomination centre.

Adherence to nomination procedures and no reports of disruptions or politically-motivated harassment and violence during the 11 June nominations is highly commendable and CCMG encourages political parties, candidates and their supporters to conduct their campaigns peacefully and by established campaign schedules. While CCMG is aware of the allegations raised by the Socialist Party related to the nomination process, CCMG is unable to independently verify these allegations. CCMG encourages any stakeholders who are aggrieved in the electoral process or any Electoral Code of Conduct violations to report their concerns to

the Electoral Commission and the Zambia Police, as appropriate. As the campaign process begins, CCMG calls on the Zambia Police to allow political parties to engage with citizens and to provide security for all candidates during the campaigns and further calls on the ECZ to ensure strict and transparent enforcement of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

CCMG commends the ECZ’s efforts through stakeholder engagements to share information about the by-election process, including emphasizing compliance and adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct, nomination process and requirements, roles and responsibilities of the Zambia Police, political parties and candidates, media, CSOs and election monitors/observers.