Zambia

I’ve run my race, it’s right time for me to step aside – Nshindano

ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano

I’ve run my race, it’s right time for me to step aside – Nshindano

By Kombe Mataka

I HAVE done my part, says outgoing ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) yesterday announced the “mutual separation” of Nshindano from the ECZ effective August 7.
According to statement issued by ECZ public relations manager Patricia Luhanga, the agreement between ECZ and Nshindano was reached at a meeting held on August 2, 2022.

“Mr Nshindano served the Commission since August 2019 has been instrumental in a number of innovations that have seen the commission transform and deliver credible elections, “ said Luhanga. “The commission would like to advise all electoral stakeholders and the general public that it will notify them of consequent appointments once these are effected.”
And Nshindano told The Mast that running an election was not an easy undertaking.

“Why the mutual separation? I think, firstly it is just the realisation that I have done my part. I did joined the commission almost three years ago and I was scheduled to have a new contract but I
decided not to, mutually… We thought that I have run my race. We have been able to achieve and have a very successful election as a country.

I think I now need to move on to another chapter. And I am quite excited for the prospects that the future holds. But also to be able to give chance as you know, we are going to have new leadership
and the new leadership will have its own thinking of how things should be done.”

Nshindano said at the centre of the decision was to make sure that the ECZ won at the end of the day.
“This institution is extremely a critical institution. It must be guarded jealously and that we need to ensure that it succeeds and remains independent. It remains autonomous in the way it functions
and we hope that even the new government, administration, will accord it the required support,” he said.
Nshindano said this was key to enhance and build on what he and his team achieved.

“So I have run my race and we have mutually agreed that it is the right time for me to step aside,” he said.
Nshindano, whose contract comes to an end this month, described his stint at ECZ as a great achievement.
“Not just for me but I can also attribute to the country and the team that I had at the commission who were supportive of what we were doing. It is not easy to run an election. I always tell people. It is easy to comment when you are outside,” he said. “The ruling government will always look at you as anti-government, the opposition will also think you are working with the ruling party.
So you are basically that orphan. The only thing you have if you are spiritual, your God. In my case as a Christian but also what is the mandate giving to you as prescribed in the Constitution. You
apply it whether or not…”

Nshindano thanked Zambians for the opportunity to serve and the support given during his tenure.
On the pressure faced to announce the August 12, 2021 election results coupled with some of the social jokes, Nshindano said “to the public it was unnerving.”

“But inside it is not as unnerving because
you have the information with you. You know how the process is running. I think the only anxiety comes in when you are saying and
hoping citizens will remain calm so that basically the anxiety does not escalate,” he said. “You need to manage it. Internally we knew how the process was running and we knew very well that we would deliver the results by a given timeframe of 72 hours which we were able to beat to 68 [hours] and things were moving internally like a well-oiled engine. Of course from an external perspective that is where the problem is.

You need to manage that.”
Nshindano added that “I also need to go and spend a little time with my children.
I have little children.”
He said he was proposing electronic voting to enhance transparency, credibility and “reduce accusations that come around as a result of anxiety”.

[ Source : Zambianobserver.com]

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