By Scoop Reporter

THE Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), says the K150, 000 pegged by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as nomination fee for presidential candidates seeking to participate in the 2021 elections is too little and must be adjusted upwards.

PeP president Sean Tembo says the amount is little and that it should be hiked to as much as   K1, 000, 000.

Mr. Tembo says a presidential nomination fee is a collective responsibility of the political party that is fielding the particular presidential candidate, and not an individual burden of the presidential candidate themselves.

He says a political party that seeks to preside over the national affairs of this Republic must have a decent financial standing to be able to at least raise K1, 000, 000 to field in their presidential candidate.

He says any political party that is unable to raise K1, 000, 000 to pay nomination fees for their presidential candidate clearly does not enjoy any tangible support from the electorate, and should not be on the ballot paper in the first place, as they will be an unnecessary distraction.

“The K150, 000 presidential nomination fee that has been proposed by ECZ is too low, hence we wish to advocate for an upward adjustment to K1, 000, 000 If the presidential nomination fee is too low, we risk having numerous chancers and opportunists who do not enjoy any tangible support, filing as presidential candidates.

“The end result will be a 10 meter long presidential ballot paper. Such a lengthy ballot paper is likely to further confuse our already confused electorate and prevent them from picking a presidential candidate of their choice.

“It is common knowledge that even when there are less than 10 candidates on a ballot paper, the majority of the electorate, especially in rural areas, struggle to distinguish one candidate from another, and fail to follow simple instructions, hence the large number of spoilt ballots.

“It is our submission that if the presidential nomination fee is too low, we risk having more presidential candidates than the combined number of parliamentary candidates. Such a situation will result in confusion as it will be difficult to distinguish one presidential candidate from another, whether by their facial appearance or by the symbols of their respective political parties. If such a situation materializes, it will not be in the best interests of our democracy,” Mr. Tembo said.

He however says election nomination fees that have been proposed by ECZ for parliamentary and local government candidates are significantly different from PeP’s views on proposed nomination fees for presidential candidates.

He says unlike presidential candidates whose nomination fees are paid by their respective political parties, parliamentary and local government candidates generally pay their election nomination fees from their own pockets.

“Therefore, given the extremely poor performance of our economy in the past five years, which has been exacerbated further by the COVID-19 economic crisis, our considered view is that the 2021 election nomination fees for parliamentary and local government candidates must be maintained at 2016 levels by ECZ.

“This will ensure that low-income parliamentary and local government candidates are not segregated against, on the basis of their financial standing,” he said.

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