The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has begun preparations to organize a presidential election to replace the late President Michael Sata as required by the constitution, according to Chomba Chella, deputy director for elections.
The constitution enables the ECZ to administer a new vote within 90 days after the death of a sitting president. The election is now scheduled to be held in January to meet demands of the constitution.
This is the second time the electoral body would be running a fresh presidential election following the death of President Levi Mwanawasa in 2008.
Chomba Chella said the ECZ would be ready to administer a credible presidential vote.
“So far we have done everything as we could… people should also bear with us that we have up to the 11th of November to mourn the president and then thereof, then we will obviously work within the 90 days. And the 90 days from the time the sitting president died falls on the 26th of January. So we have to hold elections before that,” said Chella.
Some Zambians have expressed concern about funds that would be needed to organize the presidential election.
But, Chella said officials of the electoral commission are working closely with the treasury to ensure the ECZ is adequately funded to administer the vote.
“We have done what we can within our mandate to prepare for it, but we also have to work with the treasury. Because we get financed through the treasury, which is the ministry of finance to give us the money, and we have since engaged them and they are ready to support us. But so far we have done what we could in our own capacity to ensure that the election is well prepared [for],” said Chella.
He denied media reports that the electoral body might have time constraint challenges that could hinder effective preparation to organize the presidential poll.
Chella said the ECZ has experience in administering a presidential vote following the death of a sitting head of state.
“For us we have learnt our lessons from 2008 elections when the incumbent then Levi Mwanawasa died and I think from there we were able to draw our lesson from there and so far we are okay, and we are on course and very confident that we will do it properly,” said Chella.
Meanwhile, the late President Michael Sata is scheduled to be buried on November 11.