The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to discharge its duties and responsibilities without fear or favor.

The lawyers also called for the restoration of the internet that was shut down on Friday 12 August when Zambia when to vote in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

Justifying the blackout, the government said the move was a result of “fear that some negative elements might use the internet to incite and organize protests.”

FaceofMalawi presents LAZ’s statement in full below.

PRESS RELEASE LAZ CALLS ON THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA TO DISCHARGE ITS STATUTORY MANDATE WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR AND FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE INTERNET, SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE AFTERMATH OF ELECTIONS

Following the huge voter turn-out of citizens yesterday, it is now for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to discharge its constitutional mandate under Article 229 of the Constitution of Zambia. The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) therefore, calls on ECZ to discharge its role of conducting the electoral process, including announcing election results, without fear or favor. LAZ further calls on political players and other stakeholders to give ECZ a chance to play its role within the legal parameters as expected under the principle of rule of law.

LAZ is also gravely concerned about the shutdown of internet and social media platforms in the country. The shutdown occurred during the period of voting on 12th August 2021 and persists today.

It is the view of LAZ that social media platforms, such as WhatsApp, are widely utilized by many 7ambians as a medium of sharing and exchanging information. Our Constitution, in Article 2011) guarantees the right to information under the Bill of Rights. LAZ abhors any manner of assault on constitutionally protected rights of the citizens of this country.

LAZ calls upon the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) to urgently ensure that the rights of citizens are protected by the restoration of the internet and access to social media platforms.

Dated this 13th day of August 2021.
ABYUD1 JAMES SHONGA Jnr, SC PRESIDENT V

The call is made when opposition leader Hakainde Hichilima has said his party is poised for victory. Incumbent President Edgar Lungu claims the elections are not free and fair and has deployed more troops to areas affected by violence.

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