By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 29 July 2011, 14:00 CAT
THE future of Zambia for the next five years now lies in the ballot box, says President Rupiah Banda. In his national address broadcast on ZNBC radio and television yesterday, President Banda announced that he had dissolved the 2006-2011 Parliament and set Tuesday September 20, 2011 as the day for presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.
“During the campaigns, all political parties and all candidates, be they at councillor, parliamentary, or presidential level, must conduct themselves with integrity, honour and fairness. Zambia has no need for lies, smears, political thuggery and negative campaigning,” President Banda said.
“Fellow Zambians, the time will soon be upon us to decide the shape of the next government.”
He said he knew that there was much speculation and anxiety about the date of the elections
He said one of the constitutional privileges of the office of President was that the final decision on any date was his discretion.
President Banda said he had consulted with officials from the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other relevant bodies to ascertain the most suitable date for the elections and had been informed that most of the logistics for holding of elections were now in place.
He said the ECZ informed him that the final voter register would be ready this month end.
“Fellow Zambians, I have today 28th July, 2011 signed the electoral (general) elections (date of poll) declaration order – Statutory Instrument number 76 of 2011. Further, I have also signed the local government elections (date and times of poll) order – Statutory Instrument number 77 of 2011,” President Banda said.
He said the local government elections would be held together with the presidential and parliamentary elections.
“I can now announce to the nation that the elections will be held on Tuesday 20th September, 2011,” President Banda said. “Fellow Zambians, no matter what happens during the coming months, may I take this opportunity to tell you all what a privilege it has been for me to serve as your president. I have been honoured to serve this great nation, and I am ready to continue serving you if I am re-elected. Even though I shall be seeking re-election, may I also take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to all candidates seeking elected office at presidential and indeed other levels.”
He said the revised electoral code of conduct of 2011 clearly set out the rules and regulations covering the coming election period and urged all candidates and all bodies covered by the code to adhere to it.
“We do not want this election to be marred by any irregularities. I remind all Zambians that election observers will be invited and that the eyes of the world will be upon us,” he said.
President Banda thanked all members of parliament for their hard work and efforts during the just dissolved session.
“Today, 28th July, 2011, I have signed the proclamation of the dissolution of the National Assembly - Statutory Instrument no. 75 of 2011 – pursuant to Article 88, of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia. This means Parliament stands dissolved as of today,” President Banda said. “The dissolution of Parliament consequently means that Cabinet is equally dissolved. All Cabinet and deputy ministers no longer occupy their positions.”
President Banda said, according to constitutional provisions, he and Vice-President Kunda would continue to hold office until a new government was sworn in and assumed office after the elections.
“I, therefore, thank all Cabinet and deputy ministers for their hard work and dedication to service. Together, we laid a strong foundation for tomorrow’s Zambia. Together we managed to grow our economy at an average 6.6 per cent per year. We managed to bring inflation to a single digit. We managed to stabilise the exchange rate,” President Banda said. “Together, we managed to produce unprecedented bumper maize crop for two consecutive years.
Together, we managed to establish a stable fuel supply, and for the first time – uniform fuel pricing across the country.”
He said the Zambian Constitution dictated that from the date of dissolution of Parliament a general election must take place within 90 days and he had trust in the ECZ and all officials that would be required to execute their duties and deliver a free and fair election.
He said the parliamentary session of 2006 to 2011 had been good for Zambia and a lot had been achieved despite of a world recession and some bleak predictions.
He said he was pleased to report that these bleak predictions did not bode as ill for Zambia as was first anticipated and that while some countries had suffered economic downturns, the Zambian economy sailed through because its nationals rallied and pulled together to produce positive results.
President Banda said all Zambians, under the direction of whichever party wins the election, must strive to go further.
“We must strive to ensure that all Zambians benefit from our increased prosperity. Zambia’s prosperity is for all, not just the few,” he said.
“All Zambians must have the opportunity to use their labour, their ideas and their ingenuity to improve their daily lives. All Zambians must know that security, stability and prosperity underpin our nation’s advancement. Without these three key elements we will not continue to flourish as a nation.”
President Banda said Zambia had lost one incumbent and former president since 2008 through ill-health.
“Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa died in 2008 while his predecessor Frederick Chiluba died this year. We have mourned their passing. We have celebrated their lives. We have recognised their achievements. Their efforts must not be in vain,” President Banda said. “We must go forward as a stronger nation. Whilst we remember our history with pride let us look to the future with hope. As we approach the tripartite elections let us all look to that future as one nation. Only you can decide the course of the next five years. Look at what the major parties offer in their manifestoes. We each have one vote, so let’s use it wisely.”
Labels: 2011 ELECTIONS