K19m election deal signed

THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Zambian Government have signed a K19.1 million (US$3.09 million) multi-donor agreement to support the January 20 presidential election.
The agreement was signed by the Ministry of Finance, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the UNDP on behalf of Ireland, Japan, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA).
UN resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative Janet Rogan said in a statement issued yesterday that the UNDP will coordinate direct electoral support to the ECZ on behalf of the co-operating partners with respective support levels of Ireland (US$62,000), Japan (US$642,000), UK (US$940,000) Sweden (US$600,000), USA (US$450,000) and UNDP (US$400,000).
“Zambia’s electoral process has matured over the years and it is essential that the country continues to hold free, fair and peaceful elections that are of top quality.
“Democratic principles are founded on strong institutions and the ability of citizens to participate and demand transparent and accountable national processes,” Ms Rogan said.
She said the programme will focus on components of credible elections, which are well informed voters and broad understanding of the electoral process and availability of key electoral information materials such as the Electoral Act, Electoral Code of Conduct and pocket books for police officers.
Ms Rogan said the agreement will also include components like ensuring the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms are in place to handle disputes prior to or after election day.
She said the project document signed with Government on December 11 last year is a positive development towards enhancing democratic governance which is identified as one of the priority reforms in the  Revised Sixth National Development Plan 2011-2016 (R-SNDP).
Ms Rogan said the consolidated support is intended to contribute to free, fair and peaceful elections in Zambia.
She said the support will strengthen the institutions that deliver successful elections and increase citizen participation in national processes.
Ms Rogan said all partners hope that Zambia continues to enhance its electoral process and provide for equal participation for all citizens in the process.

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