GOOD governance activist Brebner Changala says the Ministry of Home Affairs has no right to refuse or to choose which side of the country should have more NRCs than the other because of the voting pattern.
He warns that the PF administration is withdrawing citizens’ birthrights systematically “and we have nowhere to cry to.”
Changala also says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the PF have dirtily colluded, insofar the imminent registration of voters.
In an interview in Lusaka, Changala said he was very sad that the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) had political undertones.
“As Brebner Changala I’m very sad. I have experienced many elections, starting from the UNIP era, coming to [Frederick] Chiluba, [Levy] Mwanawasa and indeed Rupiah Banda eras. The issuance of national registration cards is a right to every citizen,” Changala said. “How it can be contentious now is out of this world. It’s because it’s being spearheaded by criminals.”
He said an NRC as a national identity, in the first place, should be issued to those eligible without negotiations.
“How it can be controlled and managed by the State, through [home affairs minister Stephen] Kampyongo, an individual who was not even born when people fought for this country and decided to register people; today he can come and control a birthright! It is criminal, to say the least,” Changala noted.
On voters’ registration, Changala indicated that the law said the process should be carried out on a continuous basis.
“The law is there! [But] how has judge [Esau] Chulu and [Patrick] Nshindano given it 30 days period of registration and they stick to it? They even deregister people who are already registered like myself! [This] is equally criminal and it must be investigated and a stop be put to it,” he explained.
He asserted that the PF/ECZ scheme to meddle with the registration of voters must face fierce resistance from Zambians.
Changala said if certain people were not ready to serve Zambia, “they better give way.”
“Voters’ registration must be given to all the willing citizens who want to participate in an election, without any preconditions from the very government they elected. It’s totally unacceptable!” Changala noted. “I want to remind them, as old as they are, both President Edgar Lungu, judge Chulu and Nshindano, and some members of the ruling party, that people have died in order to win the right to vote. People have gone to war and the slogan has always been one man, one vote.”
He wondered how somebody could come in the 21st century and start disenfranchising people through regulations.
“That’s unacceptable and it’s a recipe for anarchy,” Changala said, adding that Zambia’s biggest curse remains the election of PF to power in September 2011.
“It’s highly regrettable and we are paying a price. Our birthrights are being withdrawn systematically and we have nowhere to cry to.”
Meanwhile, Changala appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Commonwealth and the African Union (AU) to take interest in the Zambian chapter.
“It’s a sad chapter that is unfolding on a daily basis. [Zambia] is a country that is drifting into dictatorship. This is a government that is promoting tribalism and violence in order to perpetuate their stay in power,” he said. “But the people of Zambia will one day rise and reclaim their country.”
Changala further pointed out that next year’s general elections would be about: “the born-free, the millennials.”
“And these are the people they want to exclude through the fraudulent issuance of NRCs and non-registration of potential voters,” Changala complained. “The law is clear; [having an] NRC is a birthright and voting is a chance that every citizen is given to participate in the governance of their own country, through the selection of candidates of their choice.”
He added: “PF, through the Electoral Commission of Zambia, is playing games and nobody must participate in this dirt game.”
“Bwana Chulu must allow people to register as voters [and] the Ministry of Home Affairs has no right to refuse or to choose which side of our country should have more NRCs than the other, because of the voting pattern,” said Changala. “The government must not politicise people’s rights, freedoms and liberties as enshrined in the Constitution.”