Earlier this month it was revealed that the government owes the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) a staggering K92 billion through unpaid allowances that have accumulated through the continuous mobile voter registration exercise. The debt is owed to electoral officers and transporters. According to the ECZ, "the commission is operating under very difficult conditions, and in the first phase of the voter registration, Government remained with a balance of K22 billion, which was supposed to be paid to the field workers. From the time we commenced the second phase of the exercise, Government owes us K92 billion. We are supposed to pay our field workers their outstanding arrears and some transporters whom we engaged to help us with the transportation of our field officers". The debt remains and one need not be a genius to understand why these officers help with rigging elections. They are ripe for rigging!
It has long been our central assertion that at the heart of our poor institutional performance is deliberate and calculated failure not to fund institutions. The problem is not that key institutions and laws don't exist, they do, the problem is lack of adequate support to ensiure they function properly. There's a lack of political will in many areas. How else does one explain why the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), making new laws got more money (and smoothly), than an already legal office like the ECZ, obliged under law to fulfil its duties?