Saturday, February 13, 2010

ECZ’s effectiveness compromised by inadequate funding – Mulapesi

ECZ’s effectiveness compromised by inadequate funding – Mulapesi
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said its effectiveness is compromised to some extent, as it is not able to execute its mandate in full due to inadequate funding from the Treasury.

Making submissions before the committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters, ECZ Commissioner Grace Mulapesi said elections were a national exercise whose execution required colossal amounts.

She said the failure to commence Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) was due to lack of resources as the approved funds in 2007 could not meet even the basic minimum costs to start the exercise.

Mulapesi said the 2010 national budget provided K70 billion for CVR out of the K110 billion budget that the Commission had planned for its activities and this affected the effectiveness of the Commission and contributed to the negative perception of the Commission in the eyes of the public, especially political parties.

She said the Commission had planned to implement CVR by fully decentralising its operations through establishing offices with permanent staff in all the 72 districts to accord it direct supervision of its staff and ensure that the officers were accountable to the Commission, and thus improve efficiency in the districts.

Mulapesi said this would have allowed eligible citizens to have access to voter registration services all year round, which would include new registration, transfers, amendment of details, and removal of deceased voters from the register.

The CVR will be implemented this year through periodic mobile registration campaigns through which the Commission hopes to maintain a permanent, up to date and accurate register of voters.

The voter registration stations will be opened for an initial period of 90 days during which an average of six registration officers equipped with Digital Mobile Registration Kits will be deployed in each constituency.
The officers will conduct voter registration in each polling district within the respective constituency, which implies that registration will be open at each registration centre for an average period of 12 days.

Mulapesi said other activities will include periodic publications of the provisional register for public verification.

Other issues being considered include the mechanism for diaspora-voting by citizens resident abroad and the strengthening of the Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC).

And responding to concerns by Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo on the printing of ballot papers abroad, Mulapesi said Government Printers always fell short and did not do as required in terms of security which was very weak and almost non-existent.

She said if Government Printers met their requirements, they could be used.
She said it was not always the Commission but the stakeholders who are suspicious and added that if everyone else was happy with Government Printers then ECZ would have no problem using them.
ECZ deputy director Priscilla Isaacs dismissed assertions suggesting that intelligence officers are employed during elections.

ECZ legal council Eric Kamwi also said the Commission would opt for the amendment of some clauses of the Electoral Act if the NCC fails to wind up its business in time for the 2011 elections.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home