The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa has opened an office in Lusaka in Zambia, to support local partners in contributing to the credibility and integrity of the 2016 electoral process in Zambia. The elections in Zambia took place on 11 August 2016 together with a referendum. The elections which had a turnout of 56.45% were largely peaceful and led to the re-election of President Edgar Lungu who garnered 50.4% of the votes. However, his election was contested by his main challenger, Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND), in the newly established constitutional court generating political tension in the country. The court threw out the petition on grounds that the 14 day period for hearing the petition had elapsed. The UPND has refused to recognise Lungu’s election. EISA worked with local partners towards creating synergies in carrying out voter and civic education and deploying election monitors in a co-ordinated and synchronised way. To ensure that no effort was spared and that voters were well informed about electoral issues as well as about their rights and responsibilities, election monitors were deployed in every polling station.
The swearing in of the president and vice president which took place on 13 September 2016. Thereafter the president appointed his cabinet and opened the 12th parliament. The referendum on the Bill of Rights was however unsuccessful as it failed to meet the 50% threshold of the voting age population. EISA with the five local organisations that it supports conducted intensive voter education but more particularly focused on training 9000 local monitors (Zambian legislation uses the term “monitor” rather than “observer” for local observers).
EISA, with the support of the British Council Zambia Accountability Project (ZAP) will be working in partnership with Caritas, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP), the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACC0RD), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) and the Young African Youth Leadership Initiative (YALI).
Goodwill message on EISA’s 20th anniversary
Congratulations to EISA on its 20th anniversary from EISA Zambia, the organisation’s newest office, established in February 2016!
Dr Catherine Musuva (Country Director) – catherine@[at]eisa.org.za