Zambia will hold the 2011 general elections on 20 September following the
dissolution of the Cabinet and the National Assembly at the end of July by
President Rupiah Banda in line with the country’s constitution.
Banda announced in a live broadcast that he had signed the Electoral (General
Elections) (Date of Poll) Declaration Order –Statutory Instrument No. 76 of
2011, which effectively dissolved Cabinet and Parliament as of 28 July 2011.
“Further, I have also signed the Local Government Elections (Date and Times of
Poll) Order – Statutory Instrument No. 77 of 2011. This means the local
government elections will be held together with the presidential and
parliamentary elections. I can now announce to the nation that the elections
will be held on 20 September, 2011,” President Banda said.
Banda of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) will face the stiff
challenge of opposition leaders Michael Sata of the Patriotic Front (PF) and
Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND).
The MMD was the first political party to unveil its 150 parliamentary candidates
in July, including about 15 women.
Other parties are yet to announce their candidates for the parliamentary
A total of 709 parliamentary candidates contested for 150 seats in the National
Assembly during the 2006 elections. Out of these, 103 were women.
Banda noted that Zambia had a proud history of democracy which must be built up
and urged all political parties and candidates for local government, National
Assembly and presidential elections to conduct themselves with integrity, honour
and fairness during the campaigns.
He appealed to Zambians to avoid lies, smears, political thuggery and negative
“The revised Electoral Code of Conduct of 2011 sets out quite clearly the rules
and regulations covering the coming election period. So I urge all candidates
and all bodies covered by the Code to adhere to it,” he said.
The tripartite elections will be the sixth presidential polls to take place in
Zambia since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1991 when the
country’s liberation party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) lost
power to the ruling MMD.
Preparations for the general elections are progressing well, with the Electoral
Commission of Zambia (ECZ) announcing that it requires more than 60,000
officials to conduct this year’s vote.
ECZ director Priscilla Isaac said the commission had embarked on various legal
and administrative activities to ensure that the elections are conducted to the
letter and spirit of the laws of the land, and to the satisfaction of
The activities include voter registration, a delimitation exercise, review of
the Electoral Code of Conduct and recruitment of polling officers.
The ECZ said 1,279,181 new registrations had been captured by the close of the
voter registration exercise in March, resulting in the total number of eligible
voters rising to 5,223,316.
Inspection of the provisional register closed on 12 June, after which the ECZ
was expected to consolidate the register and certify it by 31 July.
“The commission is unable to extend the exercise this time around due to the
fact that the final register has to be certified by 31st July, 2011 and any
extension will delay the process,” said Isaac.
This will be the second time that the ECZ will be using a computerised voter
registration system introduced in 2006.
All voters’ details, including fingerprints, are available electronically, which
quickens the verification process.
In consultation with a cross section of stakeholders, the commission undertook a
review of the Electoral Code of Conduct in 2010 with a view to strengthening it.
Isaac said the code will be translated in seven major vernacular languages and
distributed to rural areas.
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