Deputy chief observer Thomas Boserup said at a press briefing in Lusaka this morning (Friday) that the mission also expects Zambians to exercise their right to freely cast their vote in next month’s general elections.
He, however, refused to comment on the political situation in the country, which has been characterised by violence mainly instigated by the ruling Patriotic Front.
“We anticipate that all stakeholders in this election will have the will to have good elections. We also anticipate that the elections will be peaceful and the voters will have the right to cast their vote,” Boserup said.
“We will base our findings on the observation made by our long term observers. We will not jump to any conclusion or come up with any statement now because we are not here to interfere in the process; we are here to observe and report only after [the elections]. That is in accordance with the methodology that we use in observing elections. We were invited here to observe by the Zambian government. We were not invited here to interfere in any way.”
He said Zambia was a beacon of democracy and human rights in Africa, hence the EU’s decision to come and show their solidarity in next month’s elections.
“The observers will be following the electoral process, meeting with the Electoral Commission of Zambia, political parties, media, civil society and they will make an assessment only after the elections. We will have a press conference, two days after the elections. We will give our preliminary findings. They are preliminary because the election process is not over right after elections…we will also follow any complaints if there will be and we will also be present for any possible second round of the elections,” Boserup said.
He called on the observers to follow the code of conduct.
Boserup said closer to election day, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) would also deploy a number of short term observers.
He said at full strength, the mission would comprise over a hundred members.
“The EU Election Observation Mission will work independently to offer an impartial, balanced and informed analysis of the whole electoral process,” said Boserup.
The European Union has established a mission to observe the presidential, parliamentary, mayoral and council chairpersons, and local council elections, as well as the referendum on the bill of rights.
The EU EOM’s core team of seven analysts, including Boserup, has been joined by 24 long term observers (LTOs) from 23 different EU member states.
The observers have been deployed to all 10 provinces of Zambia to begin their observation activities.