Competence, Integrity among Criteria Zambia Churches Want for New Electoral Commissioners

Logo Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG). Credit: CCMG

Church leaders in Zambia under the Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) have called on the government of the Southern African nation to include “competence and integrity” among the criteria for identifying candidates to take the helm of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).

President Hakainde Hichilema is expected to appoint two new ECZ Commissioners after the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson of the entity that oversees elections in Zambia ended their tenure in June.

In a Thursday, October 13 statement, CCMG officials advocate for “transparency and inclusivity” in the process of appointing the two ECZ Commissioners, offer recommendations to enhance the appointment process, and urge the Head of State to “proactively adopt” these recommendations.

The leaders representing various churches in Zambia recommend that prior to the appointment of those to head ECZ, there needs for “short-listing and selection criteria that values independence and non-partisanship, competence and integrity, with these criteria provided to stakeholders and the public.”

President Hichilema-led government should openly advertise for the post of the two ECZ Commissioners “to encourage diverse candidates and the provision for the public to nominate candidates,” CCMG officials add.


The short-listing and selection process, they further say, needs to be transparent and to involve “key stakeholders … including public interviews conducted by an independent body, similar to practices in South Africa and Namibia.”

In the appointment process, CCMG officials say, gender balance needs to be considered.

Putting into consideration gender balance “will reflect the Constitution's commitment to gender equality,” say officials of the independent election observer group that was founded in 2015.

In the statement, CCGM officials who include representatives of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) and the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) also call on the government to make the strategies part of the Electoral Laws. 

“We call on the government to go beyond implementation of these recommendations for the current vacant positions and amend the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016 (as amended in 2019) to include under Section 5 the listed recommendations in order to promote transparency and inclusivity in the appointment process,” they say. 

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The church officials say that having a legal framework around the strategies will go a long way in enhancing the independence of the ECZ as an institution and strengthen Zambia’s democracy.

CCMG comprises four Christian forums, which include ZCCB, JCTR, the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ). 

Besides playing the role of elections observers, CCMG aims at strengthening democratic electoral processes and encouraging participation of citizens in elections through civic and voter education.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.