The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says polling agents can enhance the credibility of the election process by playing a watchdog role.
ECZ Deputy Director for Voter Education Jocelyn Mubita said the polling agents can give credibility to elections by helping to detect irregularities.
Mrs. Mubita said polling agents were key stakeholders of the election management process because they can alert election officials on electoral malpractices.
She was speaking today in Lusaka at a training workshop for one hundred polling agents drawn from ten political parties from across the ten provinces of Zambia.
The training has been sponsored by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID).
Mrs. Mubita has since urged the agents to have a firm understanding of election procedures in order to guard against wilful manipulation of the electoral process.
She pointed out that polling agents have more responsibility and authority than the media and domestic observers as they were sanctioned to complain to ECZ when dissatisfied with the process.
And speaking at the same event, Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) Executive Director Horrance Chilando said the training was cardinal in fostering peace during the electoral process.
Mr. Chilando said the training of polling agents will help reduce causes of conflicts that arise from election disputes adding that it can also enhance credibility of the elections.
He expressed optimism that the one hundred agents who are undergoing training will fully train other polling agents in their respective localities once they return to their districts.
And team leader of the National Democratic Institute Brian O’day described Zambia as one of the most stable and peaceful countries in Africa due to the political maturity in the country.
The National Democratic Institute is in the country to provide training support to political parties in order to enhance their involvement in national elections.
Zambia goes to the polls on January 20, 2015 to elect a new president following the death of President Michael Sata on 28 October 2014 in London.