Civil Society Organisations in Zambia have come out deeply divided over the conduct of 2021 elections.
A consortium of CSOs comprising led by Action Aid are demanding for the resignation of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairperson Justice Essau Chulu and other Commissioners as they lack capacity to deliver credible elections in 2021.
But another consortium of CSOs led by Young African Leaders Initiative has said the has said the Commission must be encouraged to properly manage elections as it is the only constitutionally recognised body mandated to run elections.
The Action Aid CSOs are demanding that the ECZ should extend the voter registration exercise by 30 days while the YALI-led consortium have said an extension of at least 2 weeks would suffice.
Addressing Journalists at a Media briefing on behalf of the Action Aid-Zambia-led CSOs, Zitukule Executive Director Nicholas Phiri says the current crop of Commissioners at ECZ has failed Zambians in all areas of the electoral process.
Mr Phiri says ECZ must also put on hold the prison voting as it is likely to be a source of Electoral disputes and should instead consider introducing it in phases after the 2021 general elections.
But in an interview with President of Advocates for National Development and Democracy (ANDD) Samuel Banda, he said much as they could be issues in the manner some officers of the Commission had tried to manipulate the voter registration process, the CSOs still have faith in the Commission delivering a free and fair election.
“Our friends are playing to international monitors and opinion ahead of the 2021 elections such that if their opposition preferred candidate loses an election, they want the international community to begin quoting them but they must learn what happened in America. Elections are decided by voters in the ballot and not by international players” he said.