|dc.description.abstract||Many countries have embraced electoral democracy globally and are serving as inspirational and beacons for the rising tide of electoral democracy throughout the world (EIU, 2010; Mbeki, 2016). In some countries, credible elections have been held while in others not, instead troubled electoral processes have been witnessed. Regular democratic elections have been described as bedrocks for rising tide of electoral democratic systems across the world (EIU, 2010; Mwanakatwe, 1994). This global spread of electoral democracy has ignited a battle cry for transparency and accountability of electoral processes so as to improve acceptability levels of electoral outcomes (Kadima & Booysen, 2009; Strand, 2005). Since 1964, Zambia has managed, rather, a haze electoral process that has facilitated citizens to make electoral choices on political leadership through competitive elections organised at national, district, constituency and ward levels (Mwanakatwe, 1994). In some cases, electoral outcomes of these elections have been controversial due to perceived electoral irregularities and malpractices (Sakala, 2016; Chitala, 2002). The pointing finger has always been largely attributed to lack of electoral transparency and accountability of the electoral process (Bams, 2015; Annan, 2012).
This research’s objective was to investigate the extent to which the current electoral process in Kafue and Lusaka districts of Lusaka Province in Zambia is transparent and accountable in promoting credible electoral democracy. It had four (4) specific objectives among them (i) to ascertain the extent to which the current electoral process is transparent and accountable in Kafue and Lusaka districts; (ii) assess the extent to which the current electoral process in Kafue and Lusaka districts promote credible electoral democracy; (iii) establish whether civic education has a bearing on the citizens’ electoral perception regarding transparency and accountability of the electoral process; and lastly (iv) to identify areas which require improvement in the management and administration of electoral process in Kafue and Lusaka districts. The research also made recommendations and suggested areas for further interrogations.
An embedded research design was used to investigate the research objectives and questions and both qualitative and quantitative data analysis approaches were employed. The research population comprised largely registered male and female residents of rural and urban areas in Kafue and Lusaka districts respectively and totalled to 196 respondents. Using purposive and convenient sampling methods, 196 respondents were reached and opinions solicited using a structured questionnaire and an interview guide. A questionnaire was tailored in a Likert Scale of 1-5 from which respondents marked their responses. The target population was varied ranging from government, NGOs, media and private citizens. The data collected was coded, edited and analysed using statistical packages and excel sheets and presented using bar graphs, pie charts, frequencies and tables.
Research findings implied that 87% of respondents agreed that electoral process in Kafue and Lusaka Districts was transparent and accountable and further established that transparency and accountability of the electoral process promoted credible electoral democracy. When subjected to variance of analysis tests, the research revealed an associated p-values of 0.734 and 0.637 respectively which suggested a no statistical differences based on respondents’ socio background characteristics regarding transparency and accountability of the electoral process. The research established that current electoral process promoted credible electoral democracy though areas of contestation still remained. Civic education had also been established as a key component of the electoral process as it made citizens well-informed and have the courage to question electoral decisions made by electoral, political and state authorities. The research identified areas of improvement such as the review in the appointment modalities of electoral commissioners among others and further recommended areas for further research.
The research further recommended the provision of continuous civic education by the electoral body, civil society and media to address the low electoral information flows between the electoral body and stakeholders, players and citizens and lastly addressing identified electoral challenges to improve electoral administration and management. Therefore, law reforms are required to be done by the electoral body and government through the Ministry of Justice. Areas for further research have been suggested such as investigation in the causes of post electoral controversies despite the presence of electoral observers and monitors and the extent to which the weaknesses in the electoral law and constitution are impeding transparency and accountability of the electoral process to promote credible electoral democracy and realisation of a credible electoral body that manages the electoral process to the satisfaction of stakeholders.||en