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Zambia

The Carter Center worked in Zambia to promote peace through food security programming and to help ensure that elections truly represent the will of the people.

Waging Peace

"Use the ballot, not violence," read a mural in Zambia in 2001 before the presidential and parliamentary elections of that year, driving home the need for a stronger democracy. The Carter Center has worked in Zambia to promote peace through food security programming and by helping to ensure that elections truly represent the will of the people.

+Monitoring Elections

2016 Elections
The Carter Center sent a limited election observation to Zambia for its Aug. 11 presidential and parliamentary elections, which also include a referendum on the Bill of Rights. Ultimately, the observation team described the election as a step backwards for the country.

Though voting day itself was fairly peaceful, the pre-election period was marred by some violence as well as harassment of private media, the abuse of office by government ministers, and the application of laws in ways that disadvantaged the opposition party. When the opposition challenged the results, which narrowly returned the incumbent to office, they were denied the fair hearing and due process guaranteed them under the Zambian constitution and international treaties.

2001 Elections
A December 2001 observation mission for the presidential and parliamentary elections in Zambia reported that vote-counting procedures sometimes were chaotic and that the tabulation of results in constituency centers and at the Electoral Commission was not fully transparent. The delegation, which was co-led by former Nigeria head of state Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Benin President Nicéphore Soglo, and former Tanzania Prime Minister Joseph Warioba, lauded the large voter turnout and voters' patience with long lines and procedural delays at polling sites. On Jan. 2, 2002, the governing party candidate, Levy Mwanawasa, was sworn in as president, having won just 29 percent of the vote and narrowly defeated a divided opposition, which lodged claims of vote-rigging.

"The Center has serious concerns about electoral irregularities and the lack of transparency in Zambia's vote tabulation. While we have not seen clear evidence of vote-rigging, it is critical for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to release all polling station results and to explain reported discrepancies," said Democracy Program Associate Director David Carroll. The flawed Zambian elections demonstrated important progress as well as serious challenges.

1991 Elections
The Carter Center sent a delegation of representatives from 13 countries in Africa, Europe, and North America to monitor the Oct. 31, 1991, elections in Zambia. In the first democratic election in the country's history, Zambian voters dealt a defeat to one of Africa's longest-serving leaders. Former trade union leader Frederick Chiluba soundly defeated President Kenneth Kaunda, who had ruled Zambia since independence from Britain in 1964.

After that election, The Carter Center advised the new government on economic reform and development initiatives. A consultation, "The New Africa: Democracy, Growth, and Business Opportunities in Zambia," was held at the Center in June 1992 to discuss prospects for private investment in Zambia with some 100 high-level decision-makers from business, government, and private organizations. The Center also helped Zambia create the Foundation for Democratic Process, a coalition of Zambian nongovernmental organizations that oversees the democratic system, monitors elections, and promotes human rights and civil liberties.

Election Reports

View Carter Center election reports for Zambia >

Fighting Disease

Led by the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, a joint venture between the Carter Center's Agriculture Program and the Sasakawa Africa Association shared knowledge of improved seed and planting techniques to help farmers improve agricultural production in Zambia.

+Increasing Food Production

From 1986 to 1992, a joint venture between the Carter Center's Agriculture Program and the Sasakawa Africa Association, led by the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, shared knowledge of improved seed and planting techniques to help farmers improve agricultural production in Zambia. Provided with credit for fertilizers and seeds, farmers grew production test plots to experiment with new strains of maize, sorghum, soybeans, wheat, cowpeas, and millet. Following successful harvests, they taught their neighbors about the new technologies, creating a ripple effect to build food self-sufficiency in the nation.

Additionally, the program helped find cost-efficient, local markets for the surpluses that resulted from improved crop yields, and it shared information on post-harvest technologies, including methods for processing and storing.

Read more about the Carter Center's agriculture work — with the Sasakawa Africa Association — in Zambia

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QUICK FACTS: ZAMBIA

Size: 752,618 sq km


Population: 15,066,266 


Population below poverty line: 60.5 percent (2010 est.) 


Life expectancy: 52 years


Ethnic groups: African (includes Bemba, Tonga, Chewa, Lozi, Nsenga, Tumbuka, Ngoni, Lala, Kaonde, Namwanga, Lunda, Mambwe, Namwanga, Lenje, Bisa), other (includes Europeans, Asians, and Americans)


Religions: Protestant, Roman Catholic, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, indigenous beliefs


Languages: 11 Bantu languages Bemba (official), Nyanja (official), Tonga (official), Lozi (official), Chewa, Nsenga, Tumbuka, Lunda (official), Kaonde (official), Lala, Luvale (official), English (official), other

Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016

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