The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) in partnership with local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have resolved to push for electoral reforms through an agreed advocacy strategy before the 2016 Presidential elections.
The decision was arrived at the end of a two day conference called Reflecting on 2015 Presidential By-Elections: Challenges and Opportunities for Civil Society Organizations , organized by CCMG and the Forum for Democratic Process (FODEP).
It was agreed at the end of the meeting that the church and civil society organizations need to step up their efforts in preparing for the next elections to ensure that the process is success.
“last elections were marred by voter apathy as a result of failure by the church and CSOs to effectively conduct voter education ahead of elections,” it was observed.
Other issues of advocacy raised included lobbying for provision of funds for continuous voter education, the enhancement of powers and autonomy of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to enhance voter confidence.
It was also agreed that to address political violence and intolerance, the church and CSO in the country will lobby political party leaders to take a strong stance against political violence and intolerance.
Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) constitutes 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)
And officially opening the meeting Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Commissioner Hon Justice Christopher Mushabati commended the church for organizing the review meeting saying the commission values the relationship because of their important role in the electoral process.
He added that such interactions enhance the consultative process among stakeholders which secures the integrity of the electoral process and a process of establishing a culture of tolerance, respect for diversity of opinions and peace among stakeholders.
“I would like to appeal to the church and civil society organisations to use your vantage points to educate members of the public on the need to vote because you have a wider coverage than the commission through the various respective structures at district level,” he said.