The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is the autonomous electoral management body for the Republic of Zambia. The ECZ was established in 1996 under article 76 of the Constitution of Zambia.
The Commission, under the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016, consists of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson and not more than three other members appointed by the President, subject to ratification by the National Assembly. The Chairperson, and in his absence the Vice Chairperson, has the responsibility to chair and manage the meetings and monitor the daily affairs of the Commission; and represents the Commission at various fora’s.
The policy related issues are discussed in the Commission meetings, and decisions are made based on the majority of votes of the members present in the meetings. The meetings of the Commission are conducted in the presence of the majority of members and three members form a quorum. The Chairperson, the Vice and each member of the Commission has the right of one equal vote. In the case of a tie the Chairperson has the casting vote.
The Chief Electoral Officer who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Commission participates in these meetings representing Management, but does not have the right to vote
Section 9 of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No. 25 of 2016 provides for the appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer who is the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission and is responsible for the management and administration of the Commission; and implementation of the decisions of the Commission.
The Chief Electoral Officer is an ex-officio of the Commission. All policy decisions are made by the Commission, while the Management is responsible for the implementation of all decisions of the Commission.
The roles of the Commission and Management are distinct. The Commission sets the strategic direction, monitors operational performance, compliance, management processes and policies and sets authority levels. The Commission has four (4) Committees chaired by Members of the Commission, namely Finance; Administration; Elections and Logistics; and Publicity and Voter Education. There are also other Committees created by Legislation that include the Audit Committee; Procurement Committee and Integrity Committee.
The Commission has nine (9) departments that have specific responsibilities related to the electoral affairs. These are Electoral Operations, Information Technology, Legal, Finance, Voter Education, Procurement, Human Resource and Administration, Public Relations and Audit.
Current Composition of members of the Commission are:
Hon. Mr. Justice Esau E. Chulu – Chairperson
Justice Esau Elliot Chulu is the current Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). He was appointed Commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Zambia in December 2009 until 2015 when he was appointed Chairperson of the Commission.
Before he was appointed Commissioner, he was an Advocate of the High Court and Supreme Court of Zambia and held several positions namely: Judge in Charge of both Commercial and General Lists- High Court, Lusaka; member of the Editorial Board of Council of Law Reporting; Chairperson of the Bar/Bench Committee, Chairperson of the Legal Aid Board; and Chief Legal Counsel- Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Limited (ZCCM).
Justice Chulu has also served as Lecturer- Professional Conduct and Ethics at the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE).
He is a member of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA) and holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB) obtained from the University of Zambia- UNZA as well as a Masters in Law (LLM) obtained from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) United Kingdom (UK).
Hon. Mr. Justice Christopher Sichimwa Mushabati – Commissioner
Justice Christopher Sichimwa Mushabati was appointed Commissioner at the Electoral Commission of Zambia on 8th November, 2012. Before he was appointed Commissioner, he was serving and still serving as a member of the Judicial Complaints Authority, to which he was appointed in April, 2011. He is a retired Supreme Court Judge who as High Court Judge served in the following stations; Mongu, Livingstone and Lusaka. In both stations he served as Judge In-charge. He further served on the Board of Council of Law reporting as a member. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree obtained from the University of Zambia in 1978. Prior to his joining the Judiciary as a Magistrate, he served as a Teacher from July 1962 to August, 1971 in Livingstone.
Dr. Emily Joy Sikazwe – Commissioner
Mr. Chomba Chella – Chief Electoral Officer
Mr. Chomba Chella is the Chief Electoral Officer of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
Mr. Chella joined the Electoral Commission of Zambia in 2012 as Deputy Director – Elections (The Commission Re-designated the title of Deputy Director Elections to Director Electoral Operations in 2016). In 2018, Mr. Chella was appointed as Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
Previously, Mr. Chella worked as Executive Director at the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) from 2006 to 2011. He also served as Coordinator for the Oasis Forum, a consortium comprising the Council of Churches, the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC), the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ), and the Catholic Bishops from 2004 to 2006.
Mr. Chella also served as Director for Habitat for Humanity in Zambia and Botswana from 2000 to 2002. Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit housing organisation whose goal is to eliminate poverty housing around the world by working in partnership with poor and low-income families.
He holds a Bachelor Degree with Education from the University of Zambia and a Postgraduate programme in International Relations and Development from the Institute of Social Studies in The Netherlands.