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ECZ’s unrealistic route will boomerang

Chishimba Kambwili says the Electoral Commission of Zambia has become arrogant and he warns that it could plunge the nation into chaos if it mishandles the issue of voter registration. He says the online voter registration which the ECZ is insisting on is not feasible as it is alien.

Kambwili is also asking the ECZ to stop the ‘nonsense’ of creating a new voters register and limiting the period of registration to 30 days while expecting to capture 9 million voters.

“Before any decisions are made, the ECZ has a duty to consult the people. Particularly the people who should listen and listen good, it’s the Electoral Commission of Zambia because the ECZ was established by an Act of parliament to conduct elections on behalf of the people of Zambia. And in conducting elections, the ECZ must be cognizant of the fact that in elections there are stakeholders and it is therefore cardinal that before any decisions are made, the stakeholders must be consulted and involved,” said Kambwili. “What we have seen from this [justice Esau] Chulu led ECZ is that they have decided to be doing things on their own without regard of stakeholders who are mainly the people of Zambia and also political players and political parties. This is very sad. I want to earnestly and honestly appeal to the ECZ that please don’t plunge this country into turmoil… President Edgar Lungu, my dear President with due respect, you said I now want to be on top of things with the economy and otherwise…this is one area where you can show leadership. And I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that you are reasonable enough to see sense in what we are saying, but don’t pretend and give it a blind eye. Act on it. This thing can either work against you or work for you depending on which side of the coin you are.”

The route the ECZ has taken on voter registration and voters’ roll is certainly unrealistic and needs to be explained. This ECZ position will boomerang.

Ever since the ECZ hinted at doing away with the current voters’ roll, we warned that the ECZ was up to no good. And we restate our position that, “It really doesn’t make sense for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to totally abandon the old voters roll and start a new one. Given the serious budgetary constraints, it would be more prudent to simply clean up and update the current register. This would be much cheaper and less time consuming than starting afresh.

But when people fail to recognise and do the obvious, many questions arise seeking honest answers. So far the Electoral Commission of Zambia has failed to provide reasonable explanations and justify its decision to abandon the register and start a new one. The only discernible thing coming out of them is crass arrogance. Why? When people fail to explain the obvious and insolence there’s usually some mischief they are in. They are certainly up to no good. There’s something fishy!”

The issue here is that ECZ has always failed to be an impartial arbiter in our elections. At every election, they have arrogantly portrayed themselves as co-players with the ruling party. They displayed this behaviour under MMD, and they are doing it under PF.

Let’s not forget the ECZ’s behaviour towards other stakeholders in the 2016 elections. They did not want to be advised against printing ballot papers in Dubai. Their offices always spoke the language of PF cadres. And this is the language they are speaking even now. Has ECZ become a branch of PF or it’s meant to work for everyone? This is one of the many other questions justice Chulu and his team should reflect on.

It is historically proven that you cannot keep on suppressing the people and expect to get away with it.

For once, ECZ should behave and act according to its mandate in all elections, and not as a ruling party stooge.

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