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CiSCA, GEARS demand clarity over CSO reps in Dubai observing ballot printing process

THE Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) and GEARS Initiative have called on Civil Society Organisations that travelled to Dubai to clearly indicate who they are representing to avoid creating an impression that a wider CSO has participated, is aware of or has endorsed the ballot printing process taking place in Dubai.

In a joint statement on the ballot printing in Dubai, CiSCA chairperson Judith Mulenga and GEARS Initiative executive director MacDonald Chipenzi stated that they had noted with concern the statements by a CSO representative in Dubai where ballot papers printing for the August 12, general elections is taking place.

“We must put it clearly and categorically that at no time was the civil society movement consulted by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) over civil society representation in Dubai. While we understand that ECZ had indicated inability to support stakeholders to witness the ballot printing in Dubai, we did not expect them to arbitrarily determine who would represent CSOs,” the duo stated.

“As we all know, NGOCC is not the umbrella body of CSOs in Zambia as the only statutory body representing NGOs in Zambia is the Council of NGOs (C-NGOs).”

The duo stated that there were many other CSOs who had very specific mandates on elections and yet these organisations have not been consulted or engaged by ECZ.

“Just to be clear, we are not against NGOCC witnessing the ballot printing but it must be made clear which constituency they are representing and issuing statement on behalf of. Their participation should not be assumed to be CSO participation and so are their statements,” they stated.

They called on any CSOs that were in Dubai to indicate who they were representing to avoid creating an impression that a wider CSO had participated, was aware of or had endorsed the ballot printing process taking place in Dubai.

The duo stated that they were cognizant of the fact that some other CSOs and faith-based organisations which had been observing current electoral cycle from inception were yet to travel to Dubai to observe the printing with their delayed travel occasioned by ‘technicalities’

“We therefore urge CSOs currently in Dubai to issue any statements in their organisational capacities to avoid any and further confusion since measurables on which the statements on the monitoring process are based were given by those specific organisations,” stated Chipenzi and Mulenga.

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