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Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia aims to comprehend the current dynamics of Zambia’s democracy and to understand what was specific about the 2015/2016 election experience. While elections have been central to understanding Zambian politics over the last decade, the coverage they have received in the academic literature has been sparse. This book aims to fill that gap and give a more holistic account of contemporary Zambian electoral dynamics, by providing innovative analysis of political parties, mobilization methods, the constitutional framework, the motivations behind voters’ choices and the adjudication of electoral disputes by the judiciary. This book draws on insights and interviews, public opinion data and innovative surveys that aim to tell a rich and nuanced story about Zambia’s recent electoral history from a variety of disciplinary approaches.

Contributors include: Tinenenji Banda, Nicole Beardsworth, John Bwalya, Privilege Haang’andu, Erin Hern, Marja Hinfelaar, Dae Un Hong, O’Brien Kaaba, Robby Kapesa, Chanda Mfula, Jotham Momba, Biggie Joe Ndambwa, Muna Ndulo, Jeremy Seekings, Hangala Siachiwena, Sishuwa Sishuwa, Owen Sichone, Aaron Siwale, Michael Wahman.

Abstract

Literature on elections and democratic consolidation in Africa shows that incumbents win most elections by creating uneven electoral playing fields. Yet, Zambia is among a small but growing number of countries on the continent where elections are competitively contested between incumbent and opposition parties, resulting in one recent turnover, despite an uneven playing field. This chapter examines recent Zambian elections and shows that a combination of factors i.e. popular support for the ruling party, factionalism within the ruling party, and opposition strategies, help to explain recent electoral outcomes, including a turnover in 2011 and narrow incumbent victories in 2015 and 2016.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia
Author: O’Brien Kaaba

Abstract

Elections allow people to select leaders and to hold those leaders accountable. But this can only be done in an environment that does not vitiate the people’s free will and choice and in a political environment that is not lopsided and free of violence, corruption and cheating. Once these vices assail an election, there is always a possibility that the election result does not reflect the will of the people. Those aggrieved may wish to seek redress. This chapter, therefore, looks at one form of redress, adjudication, available to a person aggrieved with presidential election results. The chapter sets out the legal framework for the adjudication of disputed presidential election results and then discusses how the courts have in concrete cases resolved the disputes.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia
In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia

Abstract

The legitimacy of elections cannot be separated from the competency, professionalism and independence of the institution administering them. In Zambia, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ecz) is the institution entrusted by law with the administration of elections. The Constitution purports to establish it as an independent or autonomous body, detached from political considerations. This chapter, however, argues that the ecz, like many other institutions in the country, is beholden to the executive and lacks autonomy. To demonstrate this, the chapter discusses the historical foundation of the Commission, the establishment, composition, functions and powers of the Commission, as well as the financing of the Commission and its relations with key stakeholders such as opposition political parties, civil society and donors.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia

Abstract

The chapter explores the quality of election management in Zambia’s 2016 elections with a view to identifying the ingredients of credibility in future elections and underlying factors that could drive democratic consolidation. The chapter reveals challenges in the enforcement of some electoral regulations. The chapter also discovered that lack effective aggregation of election results affected the integrity of elections and acceptability of results by some stakeholders. It also revealed that integrity of the electoral process was affected by lack of effective legal remedies for losing parties and candidates.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia

Abstract

Since independence Zambia has held parliamentary and local government elections regularly and is in this sense a stable democracy. In 2016, however, ethno-regional polarisation and growing horizontal inequalities apparently conspired to trigger angry expressions of group grievances based on ethnicity, perceived and existent economic stratification and party mobilisation techniques. Our data show that some politically weak provinces are economically better off than politically powerful provinces, for example, economically poor Western Province has an extremely wealthy Lozi aristocracy and educated elite whose influence in Zambian political and economic life is disproportionate to its numbers. It is simplistic therefore to assume that those who lose elections lose everything. Group grievances based nevertheless do threaten Zambian stability whatever their source.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia

Abstract

This chapter will briefly address the history of the United Party for National Development (upnd) before outlining the reasons for the party’s surprising re-emergence as a national challenger in 2015. It argues that the party used the opportunities presented by factionalism in the mmd and PF, its two main competitors, to pull ethno-regional power brokers into an elite coalition, and in doing so, it allowed the party both to rebrand and to garner votes in regions outside of its traditional ethno-regional strongholds. This strategy was then bolstered by a highly targeted and effective election campaign waged across the country.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia
Author: Tinenenji Banda

Abstract

Post-election disputes are a dominant feature of Zambia’s electoral cycle. In many parliamentary electoral disputes, the success of the petition turns on the so-called ‘materiality’ of the alleged violation. Notwithstanding the importance of materiality to the outcome of an electoral petition, decision-making in this area is contradictory, eclectic and ad-hoc. This chapter argues for a functioning jurisprudence on materiality that can ensure predictability in the electoral dispute process. Were an objective test on materiality to emerge, this could provide a degree of predictability for litigants, keep the courts accountable, and caution would be offenders of the threshold of behavior that falls foul of the electoral code.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia
Authors: Muna Ndulo and Dae Un Hong

Abstract

In recent times, international election monitoring – led by the United Nations and regional organizations – has become contested and instead of easing tensions by increasing confidence in the election process it is alleged, has become one of the sources of tension. International election observers are often accused of legitimizing flawed elections. In Africa, often the circumstances under which elections are held present special difficulties and challenges. With specific reference to the 2016 Zambian general elections, this chapter discusses: (1) the history of international monitoring of national elections; (2) approaches adopted in monitoring elections; (3) impact of election observer missions; and (4) suggests ways election monitoring could be improved and made more effective.

In: Democracy and Electoral Politics in Zambia