Article 229 of the Constitution establishes the Electoral Commission for Zambia. It consists of five Commissioners appointed by the State President. The procedure for the appointment of the Commissioners is laid down in the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016(as amended by Act No. 5 of 2019. The President appoints the chairperson and the other four Commissioners, and these have to be ratified by the National Assembly. The Commission is full-time.
The Constitution provides that the Commission, in the exercise of its functions, shall be “independent and not be subject to the control of a person or an authority in the performance of its functions” The Commission is accountable to Parliament.
The Commissions employs its own staff and has hitherto been able to engage a reliable team of professional, experienced and committed staff able to meet the challenges of election management.
The functions and powers of the Commission are provided for the in the Constitution, the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act, Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 a The Constitution specifically provides that the Commission shall:
(a) implement the electoral process; (b) conduct elections and referenda; (c) register voters; (d) settle minor electoral disputes, as prescribed; (e) regulate the conduct of voters and candidates; (f) accredit observers and election agents, as prescribed; (g) delimit electoral boundaries; and (h) perform such other functions as prescribed.
The Commission prepares its own budget and presents it to Parliament. However, the Ministry of Finance disburses and monitors the funds allocated to the Commission. While this system allows for accountability, it hampers the Commission’s efficiency in discharging its administrative functions as funds are disbursed intermittently and at times when the Commission requires funds, the Treasury does not have adequate funds to meet the Commission’s immediate requirements.