No eligible voter should be disenfranchised – LAZ

THE Law Association of Zambia says no eligible voter should be disenfranchised on account of processes involved.

And LAZ has proposed that political parties that foment violence be banned from participating in elections.

There has been a growing public outcry on the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s decision to introduce online voter pre-registration as well as completely discarding the old Voters’ Register.

In a statement, LAZ said it felt that everyone should be accommodated.

“LAZ reiterates the need for ECZ to ensure that no eligible voter is disenfranchised from voting on account of processes, and that everyone must be carried along, including prisoners, subject to the guidance offered to ECZ by LAZ,” the statement signed by honourary secretary Sokwani Chilembo reads in part.

It called on ECZ to ensure that the will of the people prevailed in the electoral process.

“LAZ also calls upon the ECZ to ensure that free and fair elections are delivered, and that the will of the people should always prevail, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, and all enabling subsidiary legislation. In order to achieve this, the process leading up to voting is sacrosanct, as any form of electoral violence makes the process flawed,” LAZ said.

And LAZ has expressed concern at the continued countrywide electoral violence.

The association has since condemned the act, describing it as an assault on human rights and freedoms.

“Going forward, LAZ is of the view that the ECZ has sufficient powers to punish offenders, and must accordingly act when faced with electoral violence, regardless of the political party involved,” said LAZ. “We wish to echo what the Constitutional Court said to the ECZ in the aforementioned case, which was followed by a directive to hand over a copy of the judgment to the ECZ by the Court, as follows: …’We therefore, strongly urge the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to take necessary steps to curb the worrying culture of electoral violence in the country. We take judicial notice that the ECZ has wide powers under the law to punish perpetrators of electoral violence which include but not limited to disqualification of a political party in breach of the electoral code of conduct from taking part in an election. It’s time that such powers are invoked so as to preserve life, property, democratic values and principles…’’’

LAZ also committed to use, to the full extent, all legal tools at its disposal against perpetrators of political violence.

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