Press Statement at the Official Launch of Civil Society Election Coalition 2011 (CSEC) – Zambia

15 June, 2011, Cresta Golfview Hotel, Lusaka

Delivered by the Coalition Chairperson on behalf of CSEC

(Version française)

Distinguished invited Guests
Members of the Press

I wish to thank you all for coming to this press briefing.

It is my honour and privilege to read out this official launch statement on behalf of the Civil Society Election Coalition 2011 (CSEC).

Civil Society Election Coalition 2011 (CSEC) is a new coalition formed by Zambian civil society and faith based organizations that have come together to monitor the forthcoming 2011 tripartite elections in Zambia. The decision to form the coalition is inspired by the need to contribute to the promotion of democracy in the country as guaranteed by the Zambian laws.

The 1996 Zambia constitution, under Article 113(d) provides for citizens to promote democracy and rule of Law in Section 75 (1) of the 2006 Electoral Act entitles citizens to monitor elections.

At inception today, the coalition comprises eight (8) organizations, namely:
– Anti Voter Apathy Project (AVAP);
– Caritas Zambia;
– Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP);
– Operation Young Vote (OYV);
– Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD);
– Transparency International Zambia (TIZ);
– Young Women in Action (YWA); and
– Zambia National Womens Lobby (ZNWL).

CSEC 2011 is committed to work and collaborate with other local organizations currently not in the coalition and other stakeholders. We have all taken a pledge today to conduct our activities in a neutral and non-partisan manner in our endeavour to promote and protect citizens’ participation in the forthcoming 2011 elections.

The members of the coalition are united and inspired by their desire to see a democratic Zambia. Our mission is to promote free and fair elections in Zambia through monitoring all stages of the 2011 electoral process, and we seek to achieve the following objectives:
– To encourage pro-active and peaceful citizen participation in Zambia’s electoral and democratic processes;
– To provide a neutral and non-partisan account and evaluation of the quality and character of the electoral process;
– To support efforts to improve the electoral process consistent with Zambian electoral laws as well as international and regional standards;

CSEC 2011 will train and deploy over 9 400 monitors to all the 6 456 polling stations in the country to monitor the campaigns, nominations, polling and results management process and media monitoring.

The members of CSEC 2011 are united in the belief that all eligible Zambian citizens should be guaranteed their right to vote in an environment of peace and security. The coalition will seek to promote transparency and accountability in the electoral process, encourage citizen participation in the exercising their right to vote, and help to ensure that the outcomes of Zambia’s tripartite elections accurately reflect the will of the voters.

As we endeavour to undertake this election monitoring, we look forward to a closer cooperation with all the electoral stakeholders including the government, the police, political parties and candidates, civil society organizations, the media and the citizens in ensuring a level playing field for credible elections.

We look forward to working with the ECZ and its various offices across the country to obtain accreditation for CSEC 2011 monitors. CSEC 2011 will further encourage constructive dialogue and mutual respect among all stakeholders.

Finally, CSEC2011 would like to reiterate that we are a non-partisan and neutral coalition and we are not scheming to announce and declare any candidate or political party as winner of the 2011 elections as falsely alleged in today’s Zambia Daily Mail newspaper. As a coalition, we are resolved and united to work as a team.

I thank you all

(For Coalition Chairperson)

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