THE Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) says one of the biggest sources of conflict on the African continent is elections and the way the electoral processes is handled where stakeholder consultation, electoral transparency and accountability is concerned.
Executive director Boniface Cheembe welcomed and commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for offering dialogue platforms through the recently held Summit for political parties.
Cheembe further commended the ruling PF and opposition political parties that attended the summit and participated in the deliberations irrespective of their position on various national matters pertaining to the electoral process in the country in preparations for the 2021 general elections.
“It is certainly true that one of the biggest sources of conflict on the African continent is elections and the way the electoral processes is handled where stakeholder consultation, and electoral transparency and accountability is concerned. Therefore, when an electoral process is handled in a manner that is all inclusive, it becomes a potent instrument of conflict resolution and management to a country,” he said. “In Zambia today, varying views exist on different electoral matters such as the public order Act (POA), the Voters’ Register, issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs), and online pre-voter registration, among others. Therefore, when there is divergence in views as per a healthy democracy like Zambia, the best way to reach middle ground is to dialogue so that consensus can be attained.”
Cheembe said the arrival at consensus may not necessarily entail everyone agreeing, but at least most stakeholders agreeing on a certain issue.
He said it was the drive towards consensus that most stakeholders must welcome and support the ECZ for providing face-to-face platforms that facilitate dialogue and ultimately contribute to addressing the dehumanisation process of the country’s political leaders due to politics.
“We hope that the ECZ will continue with this spirit of dialogue through provisions of platforms as this strengthens our democracy by encouraging political parties, the media, the Church, and civil society organisations to engage into peaceful exchange of ideas,” said Cheembe. “Our appeal is that as we begin to draw closer to the 2021 general elections that these dialogue platforms will increase in their frequency and quality of peacefully addressing all issues pertaining to the electoral process.”