The Southern African Network Against Corruption (SANAC) is urging the new government to expedite constitutional reforms to address perceived gaps impacting the country’s governance.
Gregory Chifire, the Executive Director of SANAC, emphasized the need for urgent action, particularly focusing on Article 52(6) of the constitution, which is viewed as potentially contributing to electoral crises.
Article 52(6) of the Constitution of Zambia allows the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to cancel an election in the event of a candidate’s resignation, disqualification, or death.
Mr. Chifire expressed concerns that while this provision was intended to enhance democracy, it is vulnerable to abuse by political actors, introducing uncertainty into the electoral system.
He stated, “The provision is susceptible to abuse by political players, thereby subjecting the electoral system to uncertainty.”
Mr. Chifire highlighted recent incidents in Kayo ward in Mwansabombwe and the anticipated postponement of elections in Kapamba and Mayembe Wards in Mpika and Shiwang’andu Districts due to candidate resignations as examples of potential manipulation.
The concern raised by SANAC is not only about the integrity of specific elections but also the potential for such provisions to be exploited at higher levels, including presidential elections.
Mr. Chifire called on the government, particularly the Minister of Justice, to consider an immediate review of Article 52(6) to prevent misuse.
In the event that the government does not respond to this appeal, he indicated that SANAC would take legal action by initiating proceedings in the Constitutional Court to seek an interpretation of Article 52(6).