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
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).
Ms. Annette Chirumba Nhekairo – Vice-Chairperson
Ms. Annette Chirumba Nhekairo was appointed Vice Chairperson at the Electoral Commission of Zambia on 6th April, 2018.
Ms. Nhekairo worked as State Advocate after admission to the bar from 1980 to 1986. She then joined the Zambia Post and Telecommunications Limited where she worked in various portfolios and rose to the position of Company Secretary/ Legal Counsel.
In April, 2004 Ms. Nhekairo joined the Zambia Law Development Commission as Commission Secretary and rose to the position of Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She served as CEO until 2015.
Ms. Nhekairo is an Advocate of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Zambia; she is a member of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and a member of the International Bar Association (IBA)
At the Law Association of Zambia, Ms. Nhekairo was the first convener of the Women’s Rights Committee from 1996 to 1998. The Committee established the Zambia National Legal Aid Clinic for Women to provide free legal services to women who cannot afford the high legal fees that are charged by private legal practitioners.
Ms. Nhekairo was appointed member of the National Governing Council in 2008. The National Governing Council spearheaded the preparation of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Self-Assessment Report on Zambia which was a reference point for Zambia’s peer review by the African Union in 2012.
In January 2012, Ms. Nhekairo was appointed member of the Legal and Justice Reforms Commission which was set up to conduct an inquiry and make recommendations for necessary reforms in the legal and justice sector in order to enhance the social and economic programs in the country.
Ms. Nhekairo holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) from the University of Zambia.
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
Dr Emily Joy Sikazwe is a gender and human rights activist.
She was appointed Commissioner at the Electoral Commission of Zambia on 17th June, 2015.
The former Chief Executive Officer of Women for Change teaches on part time basis at the St Francis Xavier University in Canada at the Coady International Institute. Her main focus being Gender Analysis for Policy and Planning, Advocacy for Citizens Engagement as well as Community Development Leadership by Women.
She is a mother of two, a young woman called Kayi, a graduate of Banani International School, pursuing post graduate studies and a young man Yatuta, a post graduate with an MA – Political Science.
Dr Sikazwe is also a founder of Nyapachuma Memorial Foundation. A foundation in memory of her mother and grandmother which focuses on young women and girl, that they should be given opportunities to be whoever they would like to be.
She also has been a member of various Boards and Commissions namely; Securities and Exchange Commission, Legal and Justice Reform Commission, NGOCC Coordinating Council, Social Water International, Canadian University Services Overseas and a recipient of several local and international awards.
Mr. Ali D. Simwinga – Commissioner
Commissioner Ali D. Simwinga was appointed Commissioner at the Electoral Commission of Zambia on 6th April, 2018
Commissioner Simwinga is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Zambia; He holds an LLB Degree from the University of Zambia (1979). He obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Urban Economic Development from Galilee College Israel (1995) and a Diploma in Public Sector Management from Stockholm Sweden in 1996. He is an Associate member of the Institute of Local Government Administrators of Zambia (1997). He is a member of the Law Association of Zambia and the Local Government Association of Zambia. He is a former Commissioner on the Willa Mungomba Constitution Review Commission (2003 – 2005) as well as a Consultant to the National Constitutional Conference (2008). He is a former Councilor at the Copperbelt University and a former board member at Nkana Water and Sewerage Company. He was Returning Officer for Bwacha Constituency (1983) and Kantanshi Constituency (1988). He is the former Town Clerk for Lusaka City Council and Kitwe City Council ( 1992 – 2011)as well as District Electoral Officer, Registration Officer and Referendum Officer for both cities. He served as Ambassador Cairo Mission (2014- 2017).
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 Development Studies from the Institute of Social Studies in The Netherlands.
Mr. Bob Musenga- Commission Secretary
Mr. Bob Mwelwa Musenga was appointed Commission Secretary on 6th February, 2018.
A graduate of the University of Zambia (LLB 1996) and University of Aberdeen (LLM 2007) Mr. Musenga has worked for Messrs Permanent Chambers and Messrs Lloyd Siame and Coy as Assistant Advocate before joining TAZARA as Senior Legal Counsel.
Mr. Musenga has served as first Board Secretary/Legal Counsel for Zambia Daily Mail and later joined the Public Service Pensions Fund as Senior Legal Officer.
Before joining the Commission, Mr. Musenga initially served as Board Secretary/Director Corporate Services and later Deputy Registrar- Pensions of the Pensions and Insurance Authority.
Ms. Chana Kaunda-Zambezi – Director Electoral Operations
Ms. Chana Kaunda-Zambezi joined the Commission on 13th March, 2018.
Before joining the ECZ, Ms. Zambezi worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the capacity of Electoral Programme Analyst managing a portfolio, amongst other governance and gender areas, to a tune of US$34million. Her responsibilities in this role which she assumed in 2009 included formulation, strategic and technical advisory services for various electoral cycle and related initiatives led by the Government of the Republic of Zambia, with the support from various cooperating partners. The interventions over the years included entities such as the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to name a few.
Her prior engagements include working as Community Coordinator, leading three provinces in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) department at the Centre for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ).
Her sharp resource mobilisation skills led to the Oprah Angel’s Network increasing the funding to expand the peer educator group to other health centres in Lusaka.
Ms. Zambezi holds a Master of Science in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw Georgia, USA and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the American Inter-Continental University in Atlanta Georgia USA.