SENGA HILL MMD member of parliament Kapembwa Simbao has proposed that government privatises the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in order for the institution to gain public confidence in managing elections.
Contributing to debate on the Commission’s K56.9 billion budget which was later approved, Simbao said the institution had been under serious public criticism whenever it conducted national elections.
“Looking at that, I would suggest that maybe we privatise ECZ. Let it be in private hands so that everyone has its confidence and there is no bias in terms of appointments. We are coming to 2016, what we are discussing now might look small, but soon we shall have problems,” Simbao said.
“The Electoral Commission of Zambia is either loved or hated, depending on which side you are. As of last year, they had very big problems from our colleagues who were on this side (opposition).
And this year they have problems from us other than the other side. Maybe the PF government should have fired all ECZ officers upon forming government, so that they put their own people because it showed that they didn’t have confidence in the electoral process.”
He bemoaned the high number of election petitions that followed last year’s general election.
Simbao said it was a sign that the PF did not have confidence in the people managing ECZ.
And Simbao wondered why there was no budgetary allocation towards the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) system which many political parties used last year.
“I would like to look at the PVT but I’ve not seen any sign of it in the budget. It is important that if it really worked probably we should start making it official; we put it in the budget,” said Simbao.
But later in response, Vice-President Guy Scott said PVT was not a government arrangement.
“I’m walking here and you are walking on the other side, checking on me. So, PVT is not a budget issue; it’s for you to use for checking on government,” said Vice-President Scott.
Earlier, all lawmakers who debated questioned the government failure to allocate funding to the continuous voter registration exercise.
In response, deputy minister in the office of the Vice-President Harry Kalaba said if there would be need for such an allocation, government would come back to the House.