2014-12-01 12:22:00

Christian Churches in Zambia prepare to monitor Presidential by-election

As Zambians prepare for a Presidential by-elections following the death of President Michael Sata, four Christian organisations have, at the weekend announced the formation of what is being called the Christian Churches’ Monitoring Group (CCMG).

CCMG is constituted by four faith based organisations namely the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) which comprises all Protestant mainstream Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship in Zambia (EFZ) which brings together all Pentecostal Churches. These have partnered with Catholics under the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) and the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR).

Speaking on behalf of the four orgnisations, ZEC secretary General Father Cleophas Lungu said that CCMG will focus on the management of election results knowing that this has often been one of the most contentious areas whenever elections are held. The Presidential by-election is scheduled for 20 January 2015.

Father Lungu has also said that CCMG is preparing for a robust Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) exercise to be used as a tool for monitoring the integrity of the election results during and after the counting process of votes.  The PVT will be conducted through the participation of volunteers who will act as monitors. The monitors will send official results announced at polling stations to a single CCMG results collection Centre.

(By Mwenya Mukuka in Zambia)

e-mail: engafrica@vatiradio.va


Find below the statement used at the time of launching CCMG



To the Media Community, members of Political Parties Present here, the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Civil Society Organisations represented, and representatives of the donor community present here, dear Brothers and Sisters;


Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

We thank you for accepting our invitation to come and witness the launch of our monitoring coalition called CHRISTIAN CHURCHES MONITORING GROUP (CCMG) constituted by four faith based organisations namely; the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), the Evangelical Fellowship in Zambia (EFZ), the Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) and the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). 

We are all aware of the sad events that befell our beloved country in the last few weeks; the passing on of our Republican President, His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, may his soul rest in eternal peace. We pass our condolences to his family and the people of Zambia. At the same time we note with appreciation and gratitude to God, the unity exhibited by the people of Zambia in the face of this immeasurable tragedy. We call upon all peace loving Zambians to hold steady fast and genuinely contribute to our country moving the restoration of leadership in our country through a democratic process. Zambia is acclaimed for peaceful democratic transitions and as citizens of this country; we have a duty to uphold this legacy. 


In compliance with our Republican Constitution, Article 38, which requires that an election be held within three months (90 days) if the office of the President falls vacant by reason of the death of the President, the Acting President His Honour Dr Guy Scott evoked this article during his November 2014 Press briefing at which he announced the Presidential election to elect a successor President to the late Mr. Michael Sata. We applaud government for its strict compliance with the law to ensure that the transition process is smooth and predictable. 

As Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), we feel duty bound to fully participate in the electoral process and encourage our faithful and all Zambians of good will to do so in a peaceful and harmonious manner. 

Recognising the importance of the January 20th Presidential elections and the great interest stakeholders and the nation at large have in the elections, we, the Faith Based Organisations, namely; Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), the Evangelical Fellowship In Zambia (EFZ) and the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) have come together under the consortium Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) to monitor the Presidential Elections of 20th January 2015 and the entire electoral process leading to it. 


CCMG will particularly focus on management of election results knowing that this has to date been one of the most contentious areas in our experience of elections. To this effect, CCMG is preparing for a robust Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) exercise to be used as a tool for monitoring the integrity of the election results during and after the counting process of votes. This will be done through the participation of well-trained monitors at the designated polling stations who will be sending official results announced at polling stations to the CCMG results collection centre.

CCMG is also mindful of the fact that the outcome of an election is not necessarily determined on the events of the voting day but also on the fairness and integrity of the process that leads to the voting day. CCMG will thus monitor the entire electoral process ensuring that it is checked of any tendencies that can endanger the fairness, credibility and integrity of our elections. We will be attentive to the following;

Ø Intra political party processes in preparing for the elections,

Ø Nomination of candidates,

Ø Campaigns,

Ø Access to Mass Media,

Ø Management of law and order by the Police Service,

Ø Management of the Electoral process by the Elections Management Body, in this case the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

We shall also use our shared broad based national structures to conduct voter education and mobilise eligible voter Zambians to vote in the election. 


As we all prepare and move towards the Presidential Elections of 20th July 2015, each one of us, woman and man, child and adult, girl and boy must make a personal or group commitment that they will in their personal or group situation work towards peaceful electoral process and elections. We either win together or fail and can destroyed together. The choice is ours. We thus would like to make the following appeals to all: 


We reiterate our gratitude to you and salute you for the manner you have held on so far. Please continue with this spirit.

But now you are called to duty to elect a person you would entrust with the responsibility of managing your country; who will have profound influence on your lives and that of your children. Take this duty responsibly and choose a person that has genuine concern for the welfare of all Zambians and especially the weak and poor in our society. Take your time to study all individuals offering themselves for election. Find out who they are, what they have done in the past when given opportunity to serve in any capacity? Have they exhibited commitment to the common good and respect of ordinary people? What policies and values do they project? Are they arrogant and treat people they are supposed to serve with scorn and disrespect? Are they humble? Are they God fearing and are they men and women of integrity? Strictly assess those who stand for election and use your good conscience and judgment to choose the best person in your assessment. Above all, turn out to vote when the voting day comes. Voter apathy will only provide an opportunity and make it easy for unscrupulous elements to have themselves elected. 


We appeal to government to provide an impartial environment for free and fair elections that will allow the free will of the people to prevail. Public institutions should serve people impartially and should not be dragged in supporting particular candidates while disadvantaging others. The controlling officer must ensure the neutrality of the public service in this process and especially protect public resources from being abused for partisan reasons.

We abhor reports of government officials going to government owned institutions like the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) to intimidate and threaten workers who are doing their professional jobs. We condemn this behavior in the strongest sense possible as it is a great affront to democracy. We appeal to supervising authorities to punish those individuals involved. 


We note that political parties are busy preparing and positioning themselves for election. We respect their rights to organize but we strongly request that they too respect other people’s rights to organize and participate. Political acrimony is alien to good democratic culture. Ultimately the people will choose who they want and no political party can impose itself on the people through violence and intimidation. Let these elections be peaceful and violence free. Political parties must educate their cardres on the need to keep peace and respect the rights of others. We condemn individual politicians who have the habit of hiring youth, making them drunk and unleashing them for hooliganism and violence. Such leaders and those in whose name they act should never be elected. 

In many of our recent Pastoral letters, we have bemoaned the diminishing level of integrity in some of our leaders. It is very difficult for an ordinary person today to appreciate what some of our leaders stand for or the values and principles that drives them. Our leaders easily say one thing today and act the complete opposite the next day without any qualm of conscience. They can easily hope from one political party to another because their political association is not driven by any ideological belief or principle. Elections have been taken to be a platform for lying and posturing. We thus call upon the voters to seriously scrutinize the candidates that will stand and discern the cheap lies that always characterize our campaigns and never be hoodwinked by such lies and rhetoric. 


For the youth, this is your opportunity to show your best. You should mobilise to vote for your desired candidates but never succumb to be used as instruments of violence by anybody or any political party. Any leader or political party that invites you to be tools of violence has no plans for your better livelihoods and should therefore be rejected with great contempt. As candidates ask them what plans they have for you in terms of jobs and security for your future? But also be wary of lies and cheap political promises. 


Mass media is a key and indispensible tool of political mobilization. We appeal to the media to exert their professional ethics and avail the public with quality information that will help the voters make informed choices during elections. Being exclusively a medium for political insults and slender will not benefit voters in any way in knowing what the candidates stand for. We would also want to see equitable access to media by various candidates.


Traditional leaders are parents and guardians of many people with different political persuasions in their chiefdoms. We are sometimes saddened when we see respectable traditional leaders being paraded for partisan reasons by candidates. This is very demeaning and erodes the respect our traditional leaders are supposed to have. Traditional leaders must respect the rights of their subjects to belong to and participate freely in the political parties of their choice. We appeal to the House of Chiefs to devise some form of Charter that will guide the conduct of chiefs in such situations. 


Our Churches too are an amalgamation of congregants belonging to various political parties. We should encourage our faithful to participate in political processes but never provide a blue print for them as to which political party or candidate they must support. We should teach principles of a good candidate and leave the choices to the individual faithful. The habit of some Pastors or Priests inviting candidates for Church Service and providing them with a platform to campaign under the guise of greeting the people is not acceptable. Churches must strive to be apolitical. 


We call upon Civil Society Organisations to organize and mobilise the people to fully participate in the coming Presidential Election. The state of voter apathy in Zambia is too high and undermines the credibility of our elections. 


The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is a body in Zambia mandated to manage elections. We appeal for sound preparedness by ECZ for the January 2015 Presidential election. Lapses in preparations only lead to suspicions among stakeholders and loss of confidence in the process. A robust mechanism of communicating to stakeholders and even consulting them must be initiated and adhered to.

The ECZ must give Election Monitors genuine space for effectively monitoring the elections. Monitors are partners in ensuring electoral transparency. Prohibitive costs of access to materials like voter registers and complicated monitor registration and accreditation process can only work to impede the genuine cause of monitoring the elections. 


Law enforcement agencies in the electoral process are important in ensuring law and order and peace in the electoral process. CCMG would like to see a more professional police service treating every political actor in the game with equal fairness. Tendencies of selectiveness in enforcing law have been persistent in Zambia’s political process and we pray that they will be a change in the way of doing business this time around. We applaud the Security Chiefs that have repeatedly counseled their men and women to avoid engaging in partisan politics. 


Our pledge to the Zambian people and all election stakeholders is that CCMG shall provide a monitoring regime based on integrity and truth. Our monitors will be thoroughly and professionally trained, and be made to pledge to a code of ethics. CCMG has an unmatched collective outreach country wide that it will be possible to monitor every corner of this country. 



Reverend Suzanne Matale-CCZ

Reverend Pukuta Mwanza – EFZ

Fr Cleophas Lungu – ZEC 

Fr Leonard Chiti SJ - JCTR


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