The Human Rights Commission is urging all registers voters in areas where Local Government by-elections are taking place tomorrow to turn up in large numbers to exercise their democratic right to vote for the Mayor of the City of Lusaka as well as Chairpersons and Councillors of their own choices in the respective District Councils.

Voting in an election is an important democratic right and duty of any adult citizen because it has a direct bearing on the governance of the country and service delivery to the majority of the citizenry.

It is therefore extremely important for all the registered voters in the City of Lusaka, in Chilanga, newly created Districts and other districts where vacancies have occurred for various reasons to turn up enmasse to vote for the Mayor, Council Chairpersons and Councillors of their own choice.

The right to franchise or vote during an election provides one of the rarest opportunities for the citizens to directly participate in the governance of a country through voting for leaders to represent their interests. That right to vote should therefore be exercised in an informed effective manner.

The Commission is therefore calling upon all registered voters to organise their green National Registration Cards (NRC) and their voters’ cards and turn up on Thursday 26th July 2018 at their respective Polling Stations and vote for the candidates of their own choice.

In this respect, the Commission appeals to everyone not to engage in any act that has potential to undermine the right of any individual to participate in voting tomorrow as that will be a violation of their rights and criminal in nature.

All stakeholders all required to observe and respect the provisions of the Public Order Act and the Electoral Code of Conduct in order to provide a conducive environment for exercising the right to vote and generally to participate in the electoral process as a matter of right.
 
The contesting political parties are specifically encouraged to instruct their members and supporters to refrain from engaging in lawlessness but allow the Electoral Commission of Zambia to carry out their work without any interference. On the other hand, those managing the elections should conduct themselves in a manner that gives confidence and assurance to the voters that their will as expressed through casting of votes will be respected and guaranteed.

It is important to bear in mind that the free will of the people expressed in a free and fair election is the basis of the legitimacy of any elective public office. It must, therefore, be respected as a basis for sustainable inclusive development and peace.

Finally, the Commission commends the Patriotic Front and the United Party for National Development for their public commitment to ending violence and maintaining law, order and peace for the common good. That is as it should be because violence contributes to violation of a wide range of rights and freedoms and it is an undemocratic practice that undermines national development.

The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Constitution of Zambia [amendment] Act Number 2 of 2016 to ensure that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted.

 
Mweelwa Muleya
Spokesperson
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

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The mission of the Human Rights Commission is to promote and protect human rights for all people in Zambia through investigations of human rights violations, rehabilitation of victims of human rights abuses, education of communities and advocacy for policy and legal changes influenced by evidence based research

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