Fr. Cleophas Lungu (center) presenting the LTO report
The Christian Church Monitoring Group (CCMG) has recommended that voter education be intensified in all the civic centers in the districts so that prospective new registrants are well informed on the requirements for registering as a voter.
Presenting a Long Term Observation (LTO) report on the electoral landscape in Zambia on Thursday 18th February, 2016, CCMG spokesperson Fr. Cleophas Lungu also said intensive voter education on the voter registration process is cardinal given that the period has been reduced by a month from 31st March to 29th February, 2016.
The CCMG spokesperson has urged political parties to take the opportunity to encourage the public to register as voters during the registration exercise more so that the registration period at the civic centres has been reduced by a month and the planned national 14 days mobile registration exercise shall not take place.
Fr. Lungu further recommended that voter education start early given that there are new issues in the electoral process due to the amendment of the constitution and since ECZ will not hold the 14 days mobile voter registration extension due to lack of funding.
And CCMG has implored the ECZ to safeguard the electoral equipment/kits which in the past have been reported stolen from the registration centres to avoid speculations and malpractices in the electoral process and that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should issue a statement to update the public on the stolen equipment/kits that were stolen during the mobile voter registration to avoid speculations.
Meanwhile Fr. Lungu has said that having witnessed violence in the period under review, CCMG is appealing to all political parties to refrain from acts of violence including hate speech, physical violence, and harassment and declaring “no go zones” during campaigns, and encourages political parties to observe and abide by the rule of law.
CCMG also recommends to the Zambia Police Service to be professional in the execution of their duties to avoid issues of bias and the to the media houses to report issues accurately.
“For instance, they should be fair in the application of the Public Order Act when dealing with electoral stakeholders. CCMG would like to appeal to the media houses to report issues accurately, fairly and objectively to avoid partisanship and bias in their coverage of political parties and political events during the electoral cycle” he said.
The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) launched on 28th November 2014 to monitor the 20th January 2015 presidential election is a partnership of four faith-based organizations. These are Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), and Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) through Caritas Zambia.
CCMG is currently undertaking four complementary and equally important citizen monitoring efforts.