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Preparations Underway for Zambia’s General Elections

  • Peter Clottey

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, left, toasts with Chinese President Hu Jintao after a signing ceremony for a wide range of mining, trade and cultural agreements, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010 (file photo)

Zambian President Rupiah Banda, left, toasts with Chinese President Hu Jintao after a signing ceremony for a wide range of mining, trade and cultural agreements, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010 (file photo)

The director of elections at the Electoral Commission of Zambia says her organization has begun “earnest preparations” for the general elections to be held later this year.

Priscilla Isaac says the electoral commission will need over 60,000 “trained and tested” officials to conduct this year’s vote. She says the electoral body is implementing new training strategies for its officers to help “publicize and educate the electorate on what to expect in this year’s elections at the grassroots-level.”

She says the commission will also organize workshops for journalists “in liaison with the United Nations Development Program.” The effort aims at enhancing coverage of the elections and improves the journalists’ understanding of the electoral process.

In addition, Isaac says, the commission is working toward “enhancing the policing of the elections by the Zambia Police Service.”

But, some non-governmental organizations are demanding a parallel tabulation of votes they say will act as a check on the credibility of the electoral commission’s own computation of this year’s vote.

Isaac rejects the demand, saying the electoral commission is “the only legitimate body mandated by the constitution to organize elections in Zambia.” She says the electoral process as it stands is “open and transparent enough.”

Meanwhile, Zambia’s government has allocated 322 billion Kwacha [about $95 million] for the electoral commission to organize this year’s elections.

The exact date of the elections is determined by the President, who has yet to make an announcement.

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