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Respect Digital Rights In August 12 General Elections, Group Urges Zambian Govt

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Paradigm Initiative (PIN), a non-profit social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights and inclusion in Africa, has urged the Government of Zambia to respect the digital rights of its citizens during country’s general elections holding tomorrow.

The group said the government must keep the internet on during elections and allow for access to information 

PIN also harped on the need for the government to educate and encourage the participation of vulnerable groups on the use, if any, of technology in the voting process

The group further noted that the government must open up space for the media to perform their mandate, adding that the government must also proactively disclose critical information to inform the electorate adequately in relation to the electoral process.

PIN in a statement by its Communications Officer, Valery Njiaba expressed its concern over the protection of human rights during the general elections in the landlocked Southern African nation.

“We remind the government of Zambia of the importance of allowing every citizen the right to participate freely in the government of their country, either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions of the law as provided in Article 13(2) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights”, the statement said

It also urged the government of Zambia to be guided by Article 17(3) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) to ensure fair and equitable access by contesting parties and candidates to state-controlled media during elections.

The statement further called on the government to consider the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa in providing access to information and proactively disclosing relevant information for an informed electorate. 

“We are cognisant of the importance of a declaration of free and fair elections in any democratic society. To this end, we call for the conduct of elections that is in line with best practices of an enabling environment for all to vote. 

“We note from the past that during elections, some African governments have resorted to human rights violations among others, internet disruptions as witnessed in Uganda, in January 2021, violations of media freedoms and blocked access to information.

“During such times, freedom  of expression and access to information are highly at risk through crackdowns on the media and civil society actors, lack of transparency and unreliable information for citizens to make informed voting decisions. Similarly in June 2021, we witnessed internet and social media restrictions in Eswatini during a time of political unrest”, it stressed.


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