TRANSPARENCY International Zambia says politicians found to be corrupt should not be allowed to contest by-elections.
TIZ president Lee Habasonda said the Electoral Commission of Zambia should put in place mechanisms for vetting candidates to ensure only quality candidates were elected to represent the people.
He said currently there was a weak vetting system that had led to unprincipled politicians born out of electoral malpractices.
"We endorse the thought that anyone found to be corrupt should not be allowed to re-contest the seat in a by-election. Unfortunately, in this country there's a tendency of setting a bad precedence and because in the recent past, politicians found wanting have been allowed to re-contest their seats, a bad precedent has been set. It's not in order to allow politicians that have been proved to be corrupt to contest an election," Habasonda said.
"There is need for radical reforms regarding electoral contestation about candidates. We need to change the precedence and raise the bar in political integrity and this is only possible if we avoid fielding politicians associated with corruption," he said.
Habasonda said politicians that changed political parties should ensure that they disassociate themselves from those that engaged in electoral malpractices.
He said political parties should begin building a cadre of lawmakers of integrity and a leadership that inspired future generations.
"What the younger politicians are hearing now is that it doesn't matter how you get into leadership - whether through corruption or paying bribes - it doesn't matter; this is wrong. The danger is a corrupt election breeds leaders that corrupt society, consequently undermining the whole idea of development and the social wellbeing of our people. Zambia deserves better because we have people of integrity," Habasonda said.
Habasonda said the Judiciary should begin to sternly not entertain corruption when delivering judgments on electoral issues.
He said voters had allowed politicians to corrupt and bribe them.
Habasonda said this was a reflection of a corrupt society that needed to change.