Transcript of Ambassador Schultz and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Haskell

Press Avail
April 6, 2016

REPORTER: The Ambassador talked about that this is an election year. What do we expect from the American Government in terms of their actual support to us holding free and fair elections?

DAS HASKELL: I mean, everywhere, the United States supports democratic governance and I think one point our Assistant Secretary has made consistently is that the only candidate that the U.S. supports is the Zambian people (INAUDIBLE) so we want to see a free, fair and most important a peaceful election process moving forward that keeps with the traditions of Zambians in the past.

AMBASSADOR SCHULTZ: To add to that, we are providing assistance directly to ECZ and it’s in the order of 3.8 million dollars, so that’s a substantial contribution to the election and as the DAS, Todd, the Deputy Assistant Secretary has said, the point of that assistance is actually to make sure that the voice of the Zambian people is heard. [[Correction for the record: The United States government is providing $3.8 million to support credible, free, and fair elections in Zambia through efforts such as a parallel-vote tabulation, training of political party agents, and voter education, working in collaboration with civil society groups (e.g., the CCMG), NDI and the ECZ. End correction.]]

REPORTER: Are you also giving financial support to ECZ, as in, for the referendum? (INAUDIBLE)

AMBASSADOR SCHULTZ: Yeah, I think a portion of that is going for that as well but frankly I don’t know, I don’t know like sort of a breakdown. But the referendum is being held in conjunction with the elections so as I understand it’s anything that we are contributing for the election will also help with the referendum.

REPORTER: In regards to the issue of the elections, maybe just a follow up question. Maybe the Ambassador you have heard this: just about a week ago, the political fraternity and some stake holders from the church held a meeting in regards to try and curb the (INAUDIBLE) political violence. I wanted to get your remarks. What are some of the dangers that political violence brings into the political fraternity and what is the importance of holding a peaceful political environment, as well, in the country in terms of elections and electoral procedure as well?

AMBASSADOR SCHULTZ: Let me start first of all by praising the stakeholders, the political leadership in the country, for the indaba that was held last week. Last week I guess, or was it the week before? Anyway, we thought this was a great initiative, a very necessary initiative and it was very heartening to see all the political parties coming together and agree on measures to try to reduce violence. Why is it important to reduce violence? Because ultimately the most important thing in an election is that the outcome be accepted by the population and political will and if violence is part of the election, that’s going to detract from the credibility of the election.