As Zambia prepares to hold its general elections later this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) together with European Union, DFID UK, and Ireland have entered into a cooperative agreement to address the longer term underlying areas of electoral processes in Zambia and to support the Electoral Commission of Zambia to successfully organize the elections on August 11, 2016.
The resources for the programme amount to approximately US$9.9 million over two years of which US$7.7 million had already been generously made available by this cooperative agreement.
It will be implemented by the Electoral Commission of Zambia and other national and non-state institutions such as the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship Office, Zambia Police, the media and civil society. UNDP will coordinate direct electoral support to the ECZ on behalf of the cooperating partners.
The programme aims at enhancing institutional and functional efficiency of the ECZ to conduct quality and cost effective elections as well as heightening the integrity of the outcome of elections through timely, accurate and secure vote counting and tallying processes. It will focus on strengthening the capacity of political parties’ preparedness for elections and support the development of women leadership in political parties.
The programme also seeks to strengthen institutional effectiveness of early warning systems on election-related conflict, incident mapping, and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. It will enhance the media's understanding of the work of ECZ and of the electoral process as a whole, especially with the specificities of the forthcoming general elections.
The Programme document has been signed with the Government of the Republic of Zambia - represented by the Ministry of Finance, the Electoral Commission of Zambia and UNDP. The consolidated support will contribute to a transparent, efficient and inclusive electoral process in Zambia. The support will also strengthen the institutions that deliver successful elections and increase citizen participation in national processes.
Speaking at the event in Lusaka today, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Janet Rogan said Zambia’s electoral process has matured over the years and it is essential that the country continues to hold free, fair and peaceful elections that are of top quality.
“In the case of any dispute relating to the election of the president, the Constitution introduces a new Constitutional Court with power to adjudicate such issues. UNDP will also be supporting the judiciary in the establishment of the new Constitutional Court before the general elections take place,” Ms. Rogan said, hoping that Zambia continues to enhance its electoral process and provide for equal participation for all citizens in the process.
In appreciation, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Justice Esau E. Chulu, thanked UNDP and the cooperating partners for remaining sturdy and focused in supporting the electoral-related demands, in addition to providing an impartial and balanced approach towards the process. “During an election year where sensitivities are border-line between politics and the electoral process, it is imperative that our contributing partners remain steadfast, neutral and coordinated,” he said.
UNDP has been managing a programme of support for the country’s electoral cycle that is assisting the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other national bodies in managing elections and involving citizens in the process.