Filing of Presidential Nominations

The filing of presidential nominations has started on a very peaceful note and as SACCORD we hope that this trend will continue. Congratulations to those who filed successfully yesterday and those who will be soon. Just as the campaigns have been characterized by peace thus far it is our hope that even the filing of nominations will be largely characterized by peace.

As SACCORD we also hope that the internal wrangles in some political parties will be resolved soon so that all political parties can be clear in terms of which candidates will represent all political parties. This is required so that the confusion that confronts the electorate in terms of which candidates are standing on which political parties can be addressed.

SACCORD COMMENDS POLITICAL PARTIES FOR THE PEACEFUL NOMINATIONS

The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) would like to congratulate all political parties for peacefully and successfully filing in their nominations for the forthcoming September, 2014 by-elections. The levels of maturity and peace exhibited are what is expected of a country such as ours which seeks to better her democracy by ensuring that we continue to perfect the extent to which our elections are conducted in a free, fair, credible and peaceful environment.

Our hope is that the levels of peace that were exhibited during the filing of nominations will also characterize the campaign period and ultimately the actual polls themselves. As SACCORD, we want to once again congratulate all the political parties for successfully filing in their nominations and wish them all the best as the go into campaign mode.

SACCORD AND ZCID TO HOLD A POLITICAL PARTY DIALOGUE MEETING

The Southern African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) and the Zambia Centre for Inter-Party Dialogue (ZCID) in partnership with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) will hold a Political Party Summit aimed at creating a platform for inter-party dialogue on political violence on 26th and 27th August, 2014 at Protea Hotel Arcades in Lusaka. 
Zambia will be celebrating its jubilee this year. Indeed the country has come a long way in achieving political and economic independence. While it is a time to make merry, it is also a time for serious national reflection and introspection. The country still faces a number of challenges that require concerted efforts to surmount. Among these challenges is political violence which has negated efforts to consolidate and deepen democracy in the country. It is important that the country comes together to interrogate the causes of this violence, its effects and identify workable national strategies that could resolve these challenges. 
The summit will bring together senior members of political parties, civil society representatives and cooperating partners who will attend as observers. This will be a policy level meeting and therefore political parties are expected to send senior officials as specified in the letters of invitation.

SACCORD CONDEMNS MANGANGO BY-ELECTION VIOLENCE

11.08.14

The Southern African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) Press Statement on Violence in the lead up to the 19th August, 2014 Parliamentary and Local Government By-Elections

The Southern African Center for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) would like to acknowledge and condemn the violence that has characterized the ongoing campaigns for parliamentary and local government elections in western province and other parts of the country. It is regrettable and unfortunate that as a country we continue to experience some form of violence whenever we have by-elections. This is an indication that there is need for all our political stakeholders to continue and increase the extent to which they embrace divergent political views. This requires that we have political players that need to continue exhibiting the highest levels of tolerance and embrace co-existence of one another. As SACCORD we believe that when political stakeholders focus on sharing their ideas and manifestos to the electorate it helps reduce incidences of violence because people will be focused on issues and making an informed decision in terms of which candidates and political parties are advancing ideas that resonate with the electorate.

In addition to the above, there are a number of steps that SACCORD believes would help political parties prioritize peace in their campaigns all the way up to poll day and thereafter. One of the major practices that has manifested in violence even in Western province is the ferrying of political cadres from Lusaka to areas where by-elections are taking place. The nation is fully aware of the negative effects of such a practice as the violence that characterized the 2010 Mufumbwe by-election is still fresh on the mind of many Zambians. Therefore, as SACCORD we want to appeal to all political parties to stop or desist from engaging in this practice as much as possible as it is a clear and present danger as a source of political violence and conflict.

In a representative democracy such as Zambia which demands that political parties canvass for votes, there is need for political players to respect each other’s campaigns. This requires that once it is known to all stakeholders that a political party will hold a meeting or a rally in a designated place it is very important for everyone to respect that space as not doing so leads to outrage and ultimately violence. We appeal to political parties to ensure that they follow up on exhibiting the highest levels of respect as they campaign.
The Zambia Police Service as custodians of law and order must take decisive action irrespective of political affiliation of perpetrators of violence. Furthermore, there is need for the Zambia police to work very closely with political parties so as to continue strengthening and building confidence among each other.

As SACCORD, we would also like to appeal to all political stakeholders to observe the electoral code of conduct. This code is put in place so as to allow a conducive environment that allows for holding of free, fair, credible and peaceful elections. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all political stakeholders to observe this code so that violence is not given room to take root and thereby disadvantage the electorate as they would feel intimidated to come out en masse and exercise their right to vote.

We hope that political leaders will seriously condemn violence in the campaigns as violence only breeds violence. Furthermore, violence also leaves untold damage to human and physical property which is retrogressive to a democracy that is maturing and seeks to be better.

Boniface Cheembe
Executive Director
SACCORD

Zambia’s economic overview

Economic growth (sector status)

Zambia registered positive economic growth during the period 2005 to 2010, averaging between 5 and 6 per cent. This has almost doubled compared to GDP growth during the previous period and since the economic decline during the 1980s. The positive growth can be traced to structural reforms, macroeconomic policies and the increase of the mining production, and, to a lesser extent, to agriculture production. The mining sector has been the main driver of growth, with an average increase of 9 per cent between 2000 and 2006. Agriculture which is the main employer, accounting for 71.3 per cent of total employment, has not contributed much to the growth with an average increase of 2.1 per cent per annum in the same period. In 2009, however, agriculture grew by more than 7 per cent.

Public finance management and governance

In Zambia there has been fear that the governance situation has been deteriorating as a result of the political undertakings and also as a result of perceived inadequate public finance management leading to high levels of misapplication of public funds. As of July 2013, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) had identified over 40 cases of corruption in the current Auditor General’s Report for follow-up further, Contrary to the Act which requires the parastatals to produce audited financial statements and annual reports, as of December 2012, 3 out of the 20 that were audited failed to produce the reports. This is execrated by having public pronouncements over Government projects that are not budgeted for in the national budget such as the creation of new districts and by-election perceived to be politically induced. Human rights, observance of public order act are critical in ensuring that governance is maintained but institutions charged with the responsibility are underfunded making it difficult for them to perform their functions efficiently and effectively.

SACCORD within this strategic plan will create awareness and advocate for prudent public finance management and governance which is important in building the public’s confidence that their finances are put to good use. This action is important as it helps contribute to the maintenance of peace.

The extractive industry and community development

Zambia’s economy has placed high dependency on large scale excavation industries which contribute over 75% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), however the costs to the economy in terms of environmental degradation and health have been far reaching for most of the communities in the mining areas. This has gravely affected the people who live in these communities and there have not been corrective measures and adequate response from the mining companies to take into account the harmful impact mines have on the communities. Zambia has entered into unequal mining contracts with multinational mining companies that have left the Government with limited or no power to effect legislation that promotes sustainable development and protects the human rights of mining community members through corporate social responsibility. The ignorance of mining regulations by the communities coupled with capacity deficiency in sustainable development at all levels such as Government, mining companies and community members renders effective legislation regarding corporate social responsibility ineffective. This is further exacerbated by low levels of accountability, transparency and commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility by mining companies. Furthermore the poor implementation of corporate social responsibility regulations raises issues of disempowerment on the community.

State of Regional Peace and Security

While Zambia has enjoyed relative peace, its neighbors have by and large experienced significant violent conflicts in the past four decades that Zambia has helped end in some of the countries such as Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Unfortunately the effects of the wars in the region still continue to be felt by the citizen of the region as cluster munitions and land mines have all not been eradicated. While Angola’s civil war ended in 2002, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) got into violent conflict in the mid-1990s and spurts of war continue in some parts of that country such as Goma. The DRC also continues to be one of the countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) COMESA region that is struggling to address issues of war economies Mozambique’s long running civil strife which only ended at the start of the1990s. In Zimbabwe, considerable land related violence was evidenced from the beginning of 2000 and violence towards political opposition has continued as well as oppression against critics and those opposed to the Government. Further down south, South Africa in the recent past has witnessed xenophobic violent attacks against other citizens of the SADC region. In addition, South Africa has also witnessed violence against its own citizens especially as this relates to service delivery.

Further to Zambia’s north, intractable and deep-rooted ethnic violence bordering on genocide were epitomized in Rwanda and Burundi in the mid-1990s. In general, violence in neighboring countries has capacity to replicate itself in other countries and affect citizens of another country especially in the borders areas. These regional conflicts increase the risk of violent domestic conflicts which have the potential to become widespread in the region. Trade, economic, social and political activities are usually negatively affected by these wars regardless of which country in the region is experiencing war. Furthermore, countries experience an inflow of refugees as a result of wars which has an impact on the economic well-being of individuals. With these developments it is important to initiate interventions that will focus on reducing conflicts both at national level and regional level. This requires that all stakeholders increase their efforts in devising peace-building interventions that seek to enhance peace in both the SADC and COMESA region to which Zambia is a very important member state.

The Southern African region has enjoyed a state of unparalleled peace since the end of apartheid rule in South Africa and the cessation of civil hostilities in Angola and Mozambique. This, however, does not mean that security is no longer a matter of concern in the region. The prevailing political-social and economic situation in the region has rather resulted in a re-thinking of the definition of security. Military hostilities may have ceased in many countries of the region, but these have been replaced by different threats to state’s stability. A recent SADC Regional Vulnerability Assessment and Analysis (2012), for instance, catalogues a list of common challenges that threaten development gains and human security in the region. These problems include poor rainfall patterns, resulting in droughts and floods in parts of the region; continued incidences of livestock diseases; the high population of people living with HIV and AIDS in the world (35 percent); reduced household incomes due to the aforementioned problems; human and animal conflict; and negative effects of climate change. In addition, challenges such as poverty, unemployment, lack of civic participation in public decision making, massive economic migration, food insecurity, cluster munitions stockpiles, war economies (conflicts motivated by desire to access and control lucrative natural resources), drug-running and organised crime, high prevalence of small arms carried over mostly from past armed conflicts, present a new risk to human security in the region.

Zambia is familiar with the issue of cluster munitions, a form of explosive weapon that can be air-dropped or ground-launched and releases smaller sub-munitions. Commonly known as cluster bombs, they are designed to kill people, destroy vehicles or buildings and disperse over wide swaths of land. The bombs that remain as unexploded ordnance stay dormant for years, and kill and maim children or farmers clearing forests and fields long after a conflict has ended. A national survey conducted in Zambia between 2006 and 2009 revealed that landmines, which pose similar threats, still existed in six border provinces, and remnants of cluster munitions were found in the western and North-western regions of the country, a cruel legacy of neighboring conflicts[1].

Given the possibility that disruptive events in one country can easily spill over into neighboring countries, there is need to adopt regional approaches such as those offered by SADC, COMESA and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to common challenges. As of September 2013, Zambia and 20 other countries appended their signatures to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), an agreement which is expected to halt the sale of illegal arms in the world. In addition, Zambia assumed presidency of the cluster munitions convention after hosting the fourth meeting of states parties of the cluster munitions convention.

SACCORD within this strategic plan will continue to work with COMESA on issues of war economy which have been problematic in the region. SACCORD will further continue to work with its alliances on creating awareness and sensitization on the dangers that cluster munitions cause to communities in Zambia and the Southern African region. One of the major alliances in this regard is the Cluster Munitions Coalition (CMC).

[1]http://reliefweb.int/report/zambia/neither-producer-nor-user-be-zambia-and-cluster-munitions

SACCORD, HRC & POLICE hold Public Order Act workshops in the provinces

SACCORD is working closely with the Human Rights Commission and the Police on the Public Order Act to ensure that there is dialogue and harmony. So far three high level workshops have been held. The first workshop was held in Lusaka with the second and third held in Livingstone and Chipata respectively with all the senior police officers in these provinces. More such meetings are earmarked in the remaining provinces. This is important in ensuring that there is a clear understanding in administering the public order act.

Social issues affecting Zambia

Social overview

Poverty levels in the country

Although Zambia was declared a low middle income country in 2011 and is said to have experienced economic growth, the majority of Zambia’s citizens remain poor. Results from the 2006 and 2010 Living Condition Monitory Surveys (LCMS), show that poverty levels have remained high despite recording a decline between 2006 and 2010. The proportion of the population falling below the poverty line reduced from 62.8 % in 2006 to 60.5 % in 2010. The percentage of the extremely poor marginally declined from 42.7 % to 42.3 %. The analysis further shows that poverty in Zambia has continued to be more of a rural than urban phenomenon with the level of rural poverty being three times that in urban areas. In 2010, rural poverty was estimated at 77.9 % compared to urban levels at 27.5 %. Whilst some results are positive, overall Zambia’s expenditure patterns do not suggest a strong focus on the rural poor. Slightly more women headed households (80%) live in poverty compared to male headed (78%).[1] Extreme poverty affects 60% of female headed households. Poverty results in increased manipulation of people which equally increases the levels of crime, insecurity and vulnerability

Youth unemployment

The national youth policy defines a youth as any person aged 15- 35 years. According to the 2013 Labor Force Survey, Zambia’s labour force was estimated at 5,845,250 of which 3,048,342 were male and 2,796,908 were female in 2012. The country recorded a labor force participation rate of 74.6 percent. The survey further states that youthful age groups were the most vulnerable to unemployment, with the highest rate recorded among the 20-24 year-olds at 16.3 percent. The total youth labour force stands at 5, 031, 513 of a total of 7,837,038 national labor force representing more than 64.2%. The youth unemployment rate increased from 58.4% in 2008 to 64.2% in 2012.

While thousands of youths leave schools and colleges every year, very few get absorbed into the job market with even fewer being able to embark on self-employment ventures. The continued increase in youth unemployment has the potential to cause conflicts in future. Unemployed youth may engage in petty and serious crimes in order to make ends meet. They are also highly vulnerable to being mobilized for political purposes which have in the past resulted in violence. For example currently youths are used as a tool of electoral intimidation and violence. Further, young people are very aware of and affected by the surrounding decay of political systems led by adults. Disillusionment with “the system” can be coupled with a strong degree of cynicism and willingness to take advantage of the same structures, along the lines of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.

Access to Justice

Access to justice is more than improving an individual’s access to courts or guaranteeing legal representation as it extends to being the ability of people to seek and obtain a remedy through formal or informal institutions of justice for grievances in compliance with human rights standards within a reasonably specified period. In Zambia the society is still very far from closing up the gaps of fair justice between the elite and poorest of the communities. The challenges in ensuring access to justice for all include: inadequate infrastructure; inadequate personnel at local and national level; high cost of litigation, which tends to impact the women more than it does the men; inadequate logistical support to the justice institution; all these result in among other things delayed disposal of cases. Access to justice supports sustainable peace by affording the population a more attractive alternative to violence in resolving personal and political disputes and if this takes too long justice delivery is affected.

One of the cardinal responsibilities of any Government is to protect its citizens from various forms of harm and insecurity. Besides, effective promotion and protection of basic rights is a major indicator of a states’ capability to govern well. However, little has been done in terms of prioritizing the effective observance of human rights that secure the lives of women, youth and children. Additionally, institutions tasked with the responsibility of managing the enforcement of these frameworks continue to face severe funding challenges and staffing problems. The same applies to the observance of human rights- while Zambia has ratified several human rights conventions; there is still room for enhanced implementation of the different human rights standards.

SACCORD within this strategic plan will continue to work on advocating for Zambians to have better access to justice which is important in helping the country maintain her peace as people will be confident in their justice system for administering justice.

 Gender and conflict in Zambia

There is increasing acknowledgement that women and girls play multiple roles during conflict. They are not only victims of violence, but can also be active participants in the violence, directly as combatants, or indirectly, by facilitating violence through fundraising or inciting their male relatives to commit acts of violence. Women also often become heads of households during war; women and girls learn new skills and contribute to peace making and rebuilding local economies and communities. These changes in gender relations, however, are usually short-lived and societies resort back to traditional gender roles after conflict. Women also tend to be side-lined from formal conflict resolution and peacebuilding processes, and post-conflict recovery programmes often overlook women’s security needs. This compromises the inclusiveness and sustainability of peacebuilding efforts. Importantly, women and girls are not only victims of war; they are also powerful peace-builders whose efforts to prevent conflict and secure peace have been critical, yet largely unrecognized, under-resourced, and not integrated into formal peace processes. In Zambia, the linkages between gender and conflict are still unclear. There is inadequate data on the roles played by women in both fuelling conflict as well as in peacebuilding.

SACCORD intends to conduct a study aimed at shedding light on the links between gender and conflict/peace building in Zambia the overall strategies being employed will then be reviewed to ensure gender has been mainstreamed in the interventions. In addition, it will through its programmes consistently promote the greater involvement of women in conflict resolution, peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes.

Land

Zambia has two systems of land tenure namely customary and statutory. Customary land is land which is held in trust and administered by traditional leadership on behalf of their subjects whereas statutory land is held in trust and administered by the state. Over 85% of the land in Zambia is under customary tenure. However, both customary and statutory land is ultimately vested in the president of the republic of Zambia. Land in Zambia is increasingly becoming scarce, especially around towns and cities. As cities and towns grow, the likelihood of statutory land no longer being available remains high. For example, as of 2013 Petauke district in eastern province had ran out of statutory land. Also it is becoming difficult in some cases to allocate land for economic and industrial ventures such as mining if areas suitable for such ventures are in customary land especially if it is resided or used for livelihood of the locals – e.g. Kalumbila in Northwestern province.

With the increase in mining activities around the country, this has resulted in mass displacements of local Zambians. This has been exacerbated by feelings or perceptions by local people of not benefiting from their land from profits realized from these mining activities which has now become a source of conflict [1] GRZ Central statistical office, 2011, Living Conditions Monitoring Survey (2010)

State of Affairs

Political overview

Politics plays a pivotal role in almost all spheres of life in Zambia. In as much as Zambia’s political environment remains relatively stable there are still a number of political issues that can be potential sources of conflict. These issues are outlined in the sections below:

3.2.1.1   Political accountability and increased political intolerance

Political accountability entails that elected representatives respond to the will of the people and honor their commitments. This is more so in a democratic dispensation within which Zambia has been operating since 1991. However, the political leadership in Zambia has not displayed sufficient accountability, as evidenced by a number of issues including representation (Members of Parliament failure to adequately present issues raised by constituents in Parliament), inadequate political will to follow up on people’s wishes (as seen duringthe Constitution making process). The failure of political leadership to honor its promises results in increased tension between the right holders and duty bearers who begin to believe that they were cheated by the duty bearers. This in itself has become a serious source of conflict in Zambia as the duty bearers become very defensive in their failures to honor and resort to misapplying the available legal legislation which ultimately impedes citizens’ enjoyment of their basic rights.

One of the biggest challenges Zambia faces is insufficient intra party democracy within the various political parties that exist. This has resulted in a lack of objectivity among party members which has meant that those with dissenting views from the establishment are ostracized with little regard for their rights within the party or even their human rights. In addition this increase in levels of intolerance has culminated in unprecedented violence which tends to take place during elections and other occasions.

Another challenge is the weakening of political opposition parties due to mass defections into the ruling party. The mass defections of individual opposition MPs have greatly undermined the effectiveness of the opposition parties. As a consequence, opposition political parties seem to fail to unite in order to effectively influence Government’s legislative programme (SACCORD, 2013: 23) and to exercise control over the executive’s policies. Despite being a representative democracy as witnessed by competitive elections at regular intervals, attempts to reform Constitutional rules that would allow more autonomy of the electoral commission, Parliament and the media has not yet been successful. Further, the executive’s dominance has meant that the opposition can only use its Parliamentary position to check Government powers to a very limited extent (Rakner, 2012: 12-14).

SACCORD will continue to advocate for enhanced intra-party democracy in various political parties that exist in the country so that an increased sense of tolerance and co-existence is strengthened in the political parties which helps with the maintenance of peace. In addition, SACCORD will continue to sensitise members of the public on the roles and responsibilities of elected leaders such as MPs which is important in ensuring that elected leaders are held accountable.

3.2.1.2  Democracy and Separation of powers

While the Zambian Constitution recognizes the doctrine of separation of powers among the three branches of Government (namely: the executive, judiciary and the legislature with clearly defined responsibilities of each) an imbalance of power exists, with the executive having overwhelming power over the legislature and the judiciary. Although the Constitution of Zambia (1996 Cap. 1) strengthened the formal powers of the legislature – the ruling party Parliamentarians rarely challenge their Government, partly because the Republican President chooses the Cabinet from the legislature. More than one third of the Parliamentarians have ministerial positions. Further, appointments of opposition MPs to the executive as deputy ministers by the President (though something not entirely new in Zambian politics), has further weakened the legislative wing to a level that there are growing perceptions that the legislature is a mere rubber stamp for the wishes and commands of the executive (APRM, 2012: 84). The ultimate result of this is the creation of a bigger and powerful executive at the expense of the weakened legislature which erodes the principle of separation of powers.

The executive in Zambia is entirely drawn from the legislature leaving the members of the executive conducting roles which conflict. This is because the legislature which is supposed to play the oversight role on the executive finds itself with a significant number of its members being part of the executive.

The judiciary in Zambia is equally perceived to be weak in relation to the executive. The independence of the judiciary is hampered by the President’s role in judicial appointments, a right, which is exercised at the highest level, with the National Assembly only playing a role of ratification. The courts of law are thus often perceived to be unfair and less independent of the influence of the executive. The executive also exercises undue influence over the judiciary, inter alia, through the control of judicial budget allocation and allotment as well as the subjugation to many judicial officials to tenures determined by contracts of limited duration which require periodic renewal. This reinforces the perception over the dominance of the executive and offers avenue for political benefaction and patronage (APRM, 2012:85). The system of political patronage permeates the entire organisation of Government institutions rendering all state institutions virtually beholden to the president, to the extent that the rule of law is observed more on paper than in actual political practice (APRM, 2012: 25).

This has always been a source of contention and disagreement among major political actors. The presidency offers great scope of patronage, with the incumbent enjoying broad executive and discretionary powers (SACCORD, 2013). The problem with the unequal distribution of power is that it weakens institutions that should provide checks and balances to each other. If issues surrounding the overbearing powers of the executive, coupled with lack of respect for the rule of law are not corrected, Zambia risks sliding back into a one-party state. Political polarization has shrunk the space for civil society, to a level that some of the autocratic tendencies of previous Governments have been adopted by the new Government, simply because many of the institutional guarantees for democratic consolidation are still not in place (Rakner, 2012).

SACCORD in this strategic plan will intensify its advocacy on strengthening the separation of powers in the country which is important in consolidating the democracy that the country has been enjoying since the country reverted back to multi-party democracy. This will ensure that the strengthened separation of power contributes to the maintenance of Zambia’s peace and security as Zambia will have functional democratic institutions.

3.2.1.3  Media and freedom of the press

Press freedom remains one of the most critical drivers of a growing democratic system. Since the return to multiparty system, Zambia has slowly worked towards ensuring press freedom. These efforts have suffered setbacks as a result of the conduct of the ruling elite who at times abuse the law to further their interests. While pronouncements and laws have been made to assure and ensure freedom of the press, there still remains within Zambia’s statutes, laws (the Secrecy Act and laws on defamation) that take away the freedoms that were being promoted by other laws. Despite assurance to enact the freedom of information law, the current PF Government has continued to delay the enactment of this commitment.

Since the PF assumed power, some journalists from the public media have lost jobs as a result of perceptions that they supported the MMD regime. This trend has also been noted from previous Governments. As of August, 2013 some former media heads were in courts as a result of some of the publications they are reported to have supported while some journalists from private media organizations are either in courts, facing continued police harassment or are in hiding or exile as a result of threats on their lives. As of November 2013, the President had revoked licensing allowing national coverage by some of the radio stations.

SACCORD in this strategic plan will conduct advocacy to decriminalize laws that are responsible for ensuring that the people enjoy their freedoms of expressions. The organization will also network with like-minded organizations to ensure that Zambia creates a media environment that is conducive to helping democracy flourish which in itself is very important in the maintenance of peace and security.

3.2.1.4  Citizen participations and representation

While citizen participation should be seen as an important aspect in a democratic environment like that of Zambia, there are few people who are actively involved in political processes of the country. More than 50% of the population does not engage in activities that are political in nature other than mere voting. Even in terms of voting, more recent elections have been characterized by a lot of voter apathy thus affecting the legitimacy of elected leaders. Political engagement is marred by antagonistic confrontation and intolerance of opposing views. Compared to the early 1990s, when multi-party politics were reintroduced in the country, there seems to have been a gradual drop in citizen participation in political activities over the years (CIVICUS, 2010). The low participation thus has brought into question the legitimacy of those elected especially when elected by smaller numbers of citizens. Low citizen participation also extends to policy reforms (Rakner, 2012). Policy formulation processes, which have not been fully participatory and transparent stand little chance of success. Subsequent Governments seem not to have done enough to institutionalise citizen participation in the governance of the country (Rakner, 2012). This situation is exacerbated by the fact that despite spaces (District Development Coordinating Committees, Provincial Development Coordinating Committees (PDCCs), Sector Advisory Groups, Parliamentary Committees etc) being created, citizens have not made use of such platforms. Going forward, strengthening accountability, representativeness and voice should remain a priority if democracy is to be consolidated and reversals avoided.

SACCORD will conduct civic and voter education so that the people understand their civic and voters rights which are important in helping increases their participation in the governance process of the country. This action will contribute to people believing that they are part and parcel of the governance process of their country which is important in contributing to the maintenance of peace and security.

3.2.1.5  Freedom of Assembly

One of the key ingredients for growing a democracy is the ability by competing political parties to compete on a level political playing field. In 2013, in Zambia, the freedom of assembly has come under serious attack. The first two years of the PF have seen the right to peaceful assembly being denied to people and groups perceived to be critics or opponents of the ruling party. This has been seen in the Police’s continued denial to the opposition to hold political events. It has further been compounded by the arrests of some opposition leaders on allegations of having violated the Public Order Act (POA). Monitoring and advocating for the professional implementation of the Public Order Act will remain critical if freedoms to assemble, demonstrate and hold processions are to be enjoyed.

Unprofessional administration of the POA leads to lawlessness which subsequently leads to violence and anarchy as the law enforcement agencies endeavor to enforce the rule of law. It is important to note that the public order act is a current source of conflict with potential to escalate. E.g. violence during the Livingstone March 2013 by-election and the Kabwata UPND rally in early 2013.

In this Strategic plan, SACCORD will continue to engage in advocacy on the reform of the POA so that it is administered in a professional manner which helps afford all political players a sense of belonging. This action will help address the problem of the POA being a source of conflict which is important when it comes to the maintenance of law and order and ultimately peace.

3.2.1.6  Decentralization

The most fundamental rationale for decentralization in Zambia lies in its opportunity to bring the Government closer to the people by providing citizens with greater control over the decision making process and allowing their direct participation in public service delivery. Since independence, Zambia has been talking about decentralization. However, the model of decentralization that has been practiced in Zambia since independence is that of deconcentration or delegation (APRM, 2012). Decentralization policy shift towards devolution only came through in 2002.

Currently, the local Government system is fraught with many challenges including a weak legal framework. There are about 32 pieces of legislation for the administration of local Government in the country. These laws are, to a large extent, disjointed and are, therefore, difficult to enforce effectively. In addition, although local Government authorities are empowered to make by-laws, these by-laws are subjected to approval by Central Government. Other challenges faced by decentralization include poor resources in various councils, inadequately informed and organized local communities who are not able to demand for accountability from their leaders in rural areas, public service poor work culture, misperception of councils as being outside the public service, and negative attitudes about councils which are historical and thereby resulting in underfunding.

The new PF Government since 2011 have also created over 30 districts with little resource allocation provided to develop these newly created districts which was done on the basis that they would facilitate for the implementation of the decentralization policy. The coordination role of institutions at Provincial level is undermined by the existence of provincial heads of department who report directly to their Ministries at Central Government level. The Decentralization Secretariat and other stakeholders identify capacity development and sensitization at all levels as being the key areas of focus when it comes to implementing the revised decentralization policy as launched by the ruling Patriotic Front. Other key areas of reform focus are sector devolution which needs to take place at national level, fiscal decentralization at all levels, organizational restructuring at national and local level, and legislative and policy reform to be done at the national level.

One of the ways in which Government has attempted to decentralize is through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which aims at poverty reduction but also empowers local people in decision making and prioritization of projects. There is a strong relationship between CDF and decentralization in the sense that decentralisation is about devolving power, responsibility and resources to local levels such as councils and CDF is one component local authorities have a responsibility over. It is hoped that implementation of the decentralisation policy will address existing gaps in the administration and use of CDF.

The Ministry of Local Government and Housing (MLGH) is undertaking a number of next steps. These steps involve finalizing ministerial devolution plans, address local councils debt progressively, define roles of different stakeholders such as chiefs in local governance among others, build capacity of districts to receive functions that are devolved, facilitate citizens participation by establishing sub-district structures, facilitate fiscal decentralization, facilitate for the involvement of stakeholders in decentralization including civil society, and expedite awareness creation on decentralization.

SACCORD believes that decentralisation through devolution will be most effective as devolution ensures technical efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery and enhancement of popular participation. SACCORD also believes that the involvement of local people in governance and decision making at the local level and the effective service delivery to local communities are important means of ensuring conflict prevention. Therefore successful implementation of the decentralisation policy is an effective strategy for conflict prevention.

SACCORD within this strategic plan will continue to monitor and conduct advocacy interventions targeting he Government’s implementation of the revised decentralization policy.

3.3        Ethnic and tribal conflicts

3.2.1.1   Barotseland

The unending and seemingly intensifying dispute between some activists in Western Province preferably called Barotseland continues to pose a challenge to stability not only in the province but also in Zambia as a whole and in neighboring countries sharing the border with Zambia along the Western Province region. The calls for the recognition of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 have grown in the recent past as some people within the area feel that the administration in Lusaka has not treated their views and problems with the urgency they deserve. They blame the high poverty levels in the area to failures by successive Zambia Governments to balance the distribution of resources among all the provinces in Zambia.

In the life of this strategic plan, the issue if not skillfully resolved will remain one of SACCORD’s key points of intervention under its peace program. SACCORD has observed that there have been few platforms if any that the people of Zambia have been able to engage into constructive debate over the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

3.2.1.2  Tribalism

At the local level, tribalism and tribal conflicts have become a big problem within various communities in Zambia. Examples of such tribal conflicts include the Lunda/ Luvale in Zambezi district, the Luvale / Nkoya and Nkoya/ Lozi conflicts in Kaoma and Lukulu districts as well as the Luchazi and Mbunda conflict in Kabompo district. In most of these conflicts the main reason or source behind the conflict is the chieftaincy. Latent conflicts exist around Zambia which are largely as a result of stereotypes that have been formed over time and accepted.

One of the major threats to peace in Zambia is the growing trend of tribalism especially in the political arena. Politics are now viewed in Zambia as a means of survival but also as a means to have the power to distribute or redistribute national resources. In their quest to gain this power, a number of politicians have employed the use of tribalism as a means to win support among “their people” and make it difficult for “outsiders” to gain popularity within such communities. The effects of this tribal inclination can be seen from the growth of political parties in areas whether top leaders originate from.

As the strategic plan gets implemented, SACCORD will focus on raising the issues of tribal conflict and its negative impacts on the governance of Zambia. Advocacy around the minimization of tribalism will be conducted which will be important in contributing to the maintenance of Zambia’s peace.