HERE WE GO AGAIN: ELECTORAL PROCESS
By GEORGE CHOMBA
For those waiting for the 2026 general elections, which will include the Presidential, just know it will be a long wait if you don’t know that elections in Zambia are a process.
Those who have been involved in general elections before would agree that the 2026 activity in August will just be the climax of the process, otherwise the game is on.
This came alive and true as media owners and staff met Electoral Commissioners and their senior management team over breakfast in Lusaka.
Just like general elections are processes, so was the breakfast process in the four cornered room of Pamodzi Hotel.
Shortly after registering our names at the entrance hall to announce our presence, then we were met with imposing Electoral Commission of Zambia banners.
1. “SERVICES BEING OFFERED AT REGISTRATION CENTRES”
2. “LEVERAGING DEPLOYMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY TO EFFICIENTLY AND EFFECTIVELY PROVIDE DECENTRALIZED PUBLIC SERVICE”
Under the two banner headlines is the new registration of voters.
According to section seven of the Electoral Process Act, the Commission is empowered to undertake continuous voter registration.
So far 20 registration centres in Zambia, two per provinces have been established, as confirmed by the Electoral Commission of Zambia board chairperson, Mwangala Zaloumis at the breakfast meeting.
Some of the services being offered at the Registration centres of voters are removal of the deceased.
Those who have since shifted dwelling towns after the 2021 general elections are free to present their cases.
Therefore, as emphasized by Ms Zaloumis, the importance of interaction with the media to avoid misinformation and disinformation in the electoral process to deliver credible and fair election results is vital.
To deliver credible election results, the Electoral Commission of Zambia has developed a 2023 to 2027 strategic plan, as unveiled by the Chief Electoral Officer, Brown Kasaro.
He says effective interaction and inclusiveness in the electoral process is cardinal for management of elections.
But just like there is no free lunch in the World, the media landscape has developed and needs resources to function properly to deliver credible information including that of elections.
Media Owners Association of Zambia president Costa Mwansa has called for transparency in the partnership between Electoral Commission of Zambia and the media.
He says while the media is expected to inform and educate the public as regardless elections, lack of transparency in financial resources towards the process is a draw back.
Mr Mwansa has called for the financial cake to be shared equally across the country for all media houses to benefit especially community stations
Mr Mwansa says the harassment of journalists by political cadres should summon enhanced efforts by the police to protect the media.
The breakfast is done and dusted. The opportunities and challenges outlined.
The 2026 general elections might be two years away but yet so near since they are a process.
At the moment, there is a continuous registration of voters in 20 centres.
Those are some of the events of the breakfast between the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the media.