ZAMBIA: Church Group Call for Constitutional and Legal Reforms Ahead of 2026 Elections

By Arnold Neliba

LUSAKA, JANUARY 21, 2022 (CISA) – “The cancellation of the Kabwata Parliamentary By-Elections necessitated by the invocation evocation of Article 52(6) of the Constitution by the UPP candidate adds unnecessary costs to the running of elections by the Commission as well as to the participation of political parties and candidates. This occurrence confirms the urgent need for constitutional and legal reforms ahead of future by-elections and the 2026 General elections,” said Fr Emmanuel Chikoya, the Chairperson of The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) Steering Committee, in a statement dated January 20, 2022

The call for electoral reforms comes in the wake of the cancellation of the Kabwata by-election, which was scheduled for January 20 but postponed to February 3, by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ following the resignation and withdrawal of a candidate.

However, CCMG, an association of Christian churches in Zambia has urged all contesting political parties and candidates to adhere to the Electoral Process Act and Electoral Code of Conduct during campaigns and on Election Day.

“We would like to call on all political parties, candidates and their supporters to adhere to the Electoral code of conduct and conduct violence-free campaigns, restraining all supporters from acts of provocation of their political opponents,” he stressed.

While encouraging the Electoral Commission of Zambia to enforce the Electoral Code of conduct without fear Fr Chikoya said “one of the key mandates is to ensure a peaceful and credible election and this can be achieved by invoking provisions of the law against any candidate or political party whose actions threaten peaceful and credible elections.”

“Equally, the Zambia Police have a duty to provide security, maintain law and order and enforce the law. Our expectations of the Zambia Police, therefore, are that they perform their duties diligently without fear or favour and that they investigate all acts of violation of the electoral code of conduct without discrimination,” he added.

The CCMG partner organizations include; Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ), Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) and Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB).