Political Parties Tipped On Grievance Channels

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has urged political parties participating in the Mangango parliamentary by-election and other stakeholders to channel their grievances about the alleged breach of the Electoral Code of Conduct to the Conflict Management Committee.

ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the Commission viewed the complaints emanating from Mangango as hearsay as it had not received any official complaint from anyone.

Mr Akufuna said that the Electoral Code of Conduct explicitly stipulated how to go about dealing with matters bordering on abrogation of the electoral rules and regulations.

“To start with, the Commission has not received any official complaint or written communication from any stakeholder or political party in as far as events are unfolding in Mangango,” he said.

Mr Akufuna said when the Commission was briefing political parties, it urges those with issues arising from by-elections or the electoral process, to raise their concerns through writing with District Conflict Management Committee.

“The point to note is, the Electoral Code of Conduct is very clear in terms of how disputes, complaints or malpractices will be handled. We have what we refer to as the Conflict Management Committee at the district level and we have one at the national level,” he said.

Mr Akufuna said if the aggrieved parties are not satisfied with the resolution of the Conflict Management Committee at the district level, they are free to raise this issue with the National Conflict Management Committee in Lusaka.

“In as far as we are concerned, those complaints coming as reports in the media and going by our stated channel of communication when there are complaints, we will treat them as allegations or indeed hearsay,” he said.

There have been reports of alleged violence, vote buying and abuse of public resources in the ongoing Mangango parliamentary by-election campaigns.

The ECZ has set August 19, 2014 as the date for the Mangango parliamentary by-election.

Meanwhile, Mr Akufuna has maintained that Government Printers had not met the ECZ laid down specifications to enable it print ballot papers.

The specifications include the capacity to print the ballot papers and the security of the documents.

“So the ball is really in their (Government Printers) court, not in our court. They have to demonstrate that they have that capacity and they can secure these things and tomorrow we won’t find them on the streets,” he said.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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