Consider removing undue campaign privileges’-EU

 Consider removing undue campaign privileges’-EU

By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
The European Union (EU) Election Observer, Maria Arena says Zambia should consider removing from the law the undue campaign privileges for the President and Vice-President to ensure equal campaign conditions for all candidates.

EU Chief Observer, Maria Arena said the Public Order Act has been selectively applied to restrict freedom of assembly, movement and expression.

Speaking at a media briefing during the presentation the presentation of the EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) final report, Ms Arena also urged Zambia to consider repealing the Public Order Act.

“We returned to Zambia to present the mission’s final report for the 12 August general elections, which include recommendations for future elections, to discuss these recommendations with a wide range of stakeholders and to assist in kick starting electoral reform,” she said.

Ms Arena also called for the country to revise candidacy requirements to enhance the right and the opportunity to stand.

She said there is need to enact a law on political parties stipulating registration requirements and guaranteeing internal party democracy, inclusivity, transparency, and accountability, with adequate institutional oversight.

Ms Arena said Zambia should also consider enacting a law on campaign finance including reporting requirements for political parties, candidates, and traditional and social media.

She said the country should further consider formalising cooperation between the Electoral Commission of Zambia, civil society and main social media platforms.

Ms Arena stressed that it is entirely up to Zambian authorities and institutions to take any of the recommendations on board.

“While we present this final report, it is important to note the mission’s recommendations are based on observation and analysis of all aspects of the electoral process, which include the national electoral legal framework and its implementation and assessment of the extent to which the elections complied with international and regional commitments for democratic elections,” she said.