LUSAKA, Zambia

Zambia’s elections authority on Friday denied recent reports that the country was considering to delay its upcoming 2021 general elections.

Patrick Nshindano, the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), underlined that the body’s preparations for the ballot to take place in August 2021 were ongoing despite the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS).

Disavowing local media reports suggesting that the commission was considering to defer the elections, Nshindano asserted that the vote had already been set in the country’s constitution for Aug. 12, 2021.

This date can only be changed under a constitutional amendment or if authorities invoked a state of emergency, he said, allowing, however, that to meet the deadline to hold the 2021 general elections, the commission had had to “revise the elections time table taking into considerations that the elections date is enshrined in the constitution” in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The commission has to carry out a critical analysis of the activities and the timeframe ahead of the August 12th, 2021 when Zambia is scheduled to hold its general elections,” Nshindano said.

He added that the commission aimed to ensure legal and credible elections despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 and that it remained open to engagement with all stakeholders, including on the vote’s inclusiveness.

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