Zambia’s electoral body has said it is ready to hold a general election slated for next month.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chief Electoral Officer Mr Patrick Nshindano said the electoral management body was on course to hold the August 12 general election, adding that over 90 percent of the work had been done in terms of printing of ballot boxes.
He told reporters at a media briefing this week that the printing of the ballot boxes would be completed this week, with shipment expected the following week.
“The election will go ahead as planned unless a state of emergency is declared,” Mr Nshindano said.
This was in reference to the surging COVID-19 cases in Zambia, which some observers fear could require a postponement of polling.
Mr Nshindano also said that the electoral body was ready to hold the elections in an impartial and fair manner as per national and international expectations.
In all, 16 candidates have registered to contest for the presidency, including the incumbent President Edgar Lungu. Most pundits expect the presidential election to boil down to a race between President Edgar Lungu of the ruling Patriotic Front, and Mr Hakainde Hichilema of the opposition United Party for National Development.
In June 2021, Zambia’s electoral body suspended campaign rallies, as daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases surged across the country. Political parties were advised to find alternative methods of campaigning so as to avoid crowds.The opposition accused President Lungu of using the pandemic to hamstring their campaigning. The ban on rallies applied to all parties, including President Lungu’s Patriotic Front. – Agencies