Zambians vote for new president

Jan 20, 2015

Nearly 5.2 million registered Zambian voters are expected at the polls on Tuesday, where they will elect a successor to President Michael Sata, who died last year.

The new president will be in office for less than two years, until the country’s general election of 2016.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is managing a USD 3 million basket fund that includes contributions from Ireland, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and UNDP.

UNDP is also managing a programme of support for the country’s electoral cycle that is assisting the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other national bodies in managing elections and involving citizens in the process.

“We hope that the Zambian people will go to the polls to exercise their democratic rights peacefully, as they have always done in the past. The Electoral Commission has made good preparations for this election process, which is more complicated than usual because it is taking place in the rainy season,” said Ms. Janet Rogan, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Zambia.

UNDP’s support has been focusing on: civic education and voter outreach; dissemination of key election materials such as the Electoral Code of Conduct and guidelines for police forces; and facilitation of dispute resolution mechanisms before and after election day.

“If differences arise during polling, the Conflict Management Committees should be called upon for mediation and peaceful resolution of issues. We look to all candidates, their party officials and their supporters to respect the outcome of the electoral process and to uphold Zambia's cherished tradition of peaceful democratic transition," she added.

In spite of Zambia’s stability and sustained rates of economic growth over the last few years, 42 percent of the country’s population still lives below the poverty line. The elections are seen as an opportunity to involve people in decision-making and development.

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