Casting Zambia Elections 2016,
Gabriel C Banda
(Recently, we have reflected through sharing parts of PF, the Divided House writing I had shared around Zambia’s January 2015 presidential by-elections. The thoughts were discussion on the rising of Edgar Lungu to presidential candidate WITHIN their PF party. There are more thoughts we have had on account of President Edgar Lungu administration’s performance in office and the relations around other candidates in Election 2016)
Casting Zambia Elections 2016
Gabriel C Banda
WHATEVER the outcome, elections greatly transform societies. And whatever a person voted, elections transform individuals in society. The results of elections will always make persons enter other phases of life. But there are some things we must think about as elections are about to happen.
Out of respect for the election arrangement and the voters, you should never celebrate before the vote is cast and before the vote is counted. Doing so may be disrespect for other candidates, the voters, and the elections process.
Things may change from what you expect. Prospects of election candidates may change due to factors that can come into play, including factors that may suddenly come into play even just shortly before the election day comes.
Factors of change can be linked to issues and events involving candidates, their party, and other human and natural events in the society.
The factors may lead to situations that may include the following:
- Some registered voters keeping away from the elections, affecting both turnout and chances of some candidates
- Some registered voters turn up, after they initially might have avoided going to make the vote
The turn-up may be for various reasons:
- Some voters will turn up in order to support a candidate
- Some voters will turn up in order to vote against some candidate.
Put it in mind that, in elections, your candidate of choice is not necessarily the one that most votes will choose. Know that the elected person is not necessarily the one best suited to deal with the tasks of the role being voted for.
Elections do not necessarily result in the election of the person best suited to the tasks of the position, but get to choose the candidate who the most number of voting persons desire to take up a position. The elected person is not necessarily the best suited and the ones not elected are not necessarily the worst for that position.
You may not like a candidate that is eventually chosen but you must accept that person’s selection and their holding the position they have contested for.
Also, know that election results are expressions of feelings of support at a particular time. A candidate who is elected may not necessarily be chosen at other following elections. A person that is not selected in an election may at some other time come out the elected. So things with elections are not very fixed but are able to change.
Zambia’s elections of August 11, 2016 will take place under a new Constitution. This new Constitution has come about from public deliberations and input. The Election Day will have voting for many positions: President, Member of Parliament, Council Mayors, and Ward Councillors. There will also be included a Referendum on the Bill of Rights.
The new Constitution is will be interesting to put into force. While one believes that there are potentially some difficulties in issues like the Running Mate Vice President, the “Grade Twelve” requirement, there are some clauses, like the “Fifty Per Cent Plus One person,” that are very helpful. The Fifty Per Cent Plus One helps to get a wider consent from all parts of a country than happens in simple majority “first past the post” elections.
But some of the content in the new Constitution may be well meaning yet difficult to apply in reality. In our earlier writing, we have mentioned our concerns about running mate, particularly with the examples of Brazil and Malawi, where there was conflict between president and a vice president who, by law, will not be removed from office. Although there are those of us critical of the Running Mate clause, other persons have pointed out some advantages it may have.
Sometimes, expected and unexpected problems may happen in implementation of Constitutions and elections. We hope that, experiencing and knowing the challenges arising due to implementation of the content of the Constitution, things will be smoothed out and made better. In Zambia’s Elections 2016, some factors will be at play. These will help or impede candidates. These we will observe and discuss soon.
- GCB, LUSAKA. July/August 2016.