The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) would like to welcome and congratulate Mr. Chomba Chellah on his appointment as Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
FODEP is looking forward to fruitful engagements with the new CEO and is confident that Mr. Chellah who has shown demonstrable experience and understanding of Zambia’s electoral process and democracy, will rise to the occasion and work with stakeholders to address a number of critical and pending matters relating to elections in the country before 2021.
FODEP is optimistic that as CEO of ECZ, Mr. Chellah will stir the Commission towards facilitating consultations and dialogue among stakeholders on the outcomes of the Constitutional Court regarding the rights of Prisoners’ and those in lawful custody to vote in Zambia in order to help the country come up with robust reforms and accommodate a suitable voting model for Prisoner’s and those in lawful custody to vote in line with the Constitution.
FODEP has noted that Mr. Chellah’s appointment comes at the time when the country is emerging from the 2016 elections which were precipitated by an environment of tensions and violence. FODEP is confident that as Chief Electoral Officer, Mr. Chellah will help the ECZ maneuver against that background which seemingly divided the Country, and reposition itself towards building upon and increasing the trust and confidence Zambians and stakeholders have in the institution.
FODEP has also noted that Government has indicated intentions to facilitate a referendum before 2021 which is one of the pending matters in Zambia’s electoral process. We would like to urge Mr. Chomba and his team to come up with a roadmap outlining how the ECZ will prepare for a referendum before 2021 as well as address serious flaws in the voters’ register which has been riddled with a number of weaknesses.
Furthermore, FODEP is hopeful that under Mr. Chellah, who has long standing experiences, the ECZ will engage Government and stakeholders on the usually hot issue of printing of ballot papers early on before 2021. This is considering pronouncements by Government regarding Government Printers undertaking the printing and previous instances where they were imported.