Thursday, January 10, 2013

L/stone, Mpongwe polls may be same day - ECZ

L/stone, Mpongwe polls may be same day - ECZ
By Kombe Chimpinde
Thu 10 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says it is considering holding the Livingstone and Mpongwe by-election on the same day. And Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (Saccord) says holding the two by-elections on the same day will cut on certain costs.

ECZ has declared February 28 as the date for the Mpongwe by-election which fell vacant after the resignation of Gabriel Namulambe from MMD to join the PF. ECZ has however not yet declared the date for the Livingstone by-election which fell vacant on Friday after the resignation of UPND member of parliament Reverend Howard Sikwela.

ECZ public relations manager Cris Akufuna said in an interview that ECZ was considering holding the two by-elections on the same day after the body received notification from the Speaker on Sikwela's resignation.

"On Livingstone, the notification from the honourable Speaker to the commission has been done and what is being considered is whether to include that by-election to the Mpongwe one. When the commission makes a final decision, we will be making a statement not too long from now," Akufuna said.

And Saccord information officer Obby Chibuluma called for a rescheduling of the Mpongwe by-election so that it is held at the same time as the Livingstone one.

"We have seen that holding elections on the same day helps to cut costs for example one of the costs associated with by-elections is the printing of ballot papers outside the country, where the commission and competing political parties have to send representatives to go and monitor the printing of ballots," Chibuluma said.

He also said holding polls on the same day would also reduce on tensions that came with by-elections.

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