BREBNER Changala has charged that ill intentions by PF and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on voter registration have backfired.
He says the ruling PF has lost legitimacy and, “With or without Bill 10 they are gone. These guys are gone – dead and buried”.
A week ago, Vice-President Inonge Wina told Parliament that the ECZ would not discard the current Voters’ Register but would just update it.
This is contrary to the Commission’s original and consistent statement that they would introduce a completely new register.
And on Tuesday this week, ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano went against his own earlier statements and told the nation at a media briefing that Vice-President Wina’s position was in fact the correct one.
He also said the Commission had only managed to capture 120,000 voters from the online pre-registration exercise which ECZ had been running for over a month.
Reacting to the conflicting statements, Changala, a good governance and human rights activist, said ECZ should have listened to stakeholders’ concerns from the beginning.
“It is very true that the original intentions were embedded in malice and untruthfulness. Now, since it has backfired. Instead of apologising they’re now shifting positions. The Vice-President says the old register is valid, the spokesperson says it’s dead, ECZ is postponing the dates of the exercise; this is a confusion and nobody is apologising,” he said. “I want to beg these people, sincerely and honestly to come out in the open, apologise and give this process some credibility; even some semblance of credibility. I know they want to prepare the people of Zambia’s minds for a dispute because the elections of 2021, PF is definitely losing. There’s no doubt about it. With or without Bill 10 they are gone. These guys are gone – dead and buried. They’ve no legitimacy!”
Changala called on the government to respect the people’s will on the electoral process.
He explained the importance of elections in citizens’ lives the world over.
“But trying to play with the electoral process is banditry, it’s criminal. And they must lay off and allow the people to make a decent choice as to who governs them in 2021 and beyond,” Changala stressed. “We are in very dangerous times with the crooked and insincere government leadership. Elections is an important event because it shapes the direction, culture and the social dynamics of a society.”
He warned the government about the dangers of issuing conflicting statements on such an important national issue.
“To have these conflicting statements from the Vice-President, number two from the Head of State and then another view from the CEO of the Electoral Commission of Zambia; but most importantly, you get another version that the old register is obsolete from the chief government spokesperson, telling her tribesmates and chiefs in Eastern Province that the old register is dead and buried, so go and register for new voters’ register is highly dangerous, politically inflammatory and beyond any measure of government integrity in the management of state of affairs,” Changala said. “We need to be told as to whether this government is ready to hold a general election on the 12th of August 2021. With all this confusion, a statement is made on the floor of the House, it’s very important that that statement is respected because it’s given to the people’s representatives.”
Changala said the vote is a badge of dignity, which should be respected by those in government.
He said the ruling PF had lost the legitimacy to preside over national affairs.
“As I said the last time, the vote is a badge of dignity for every citizen because that’s the only time the rich and the poor, the disgraced and the honoured, they meet at the same crossroad to decide the destiny of their country,” said Changala. “A statement is made by the chief government spokesperson [Leader of Government Business in the House, the Vice-President], it means she’s disseminating a government position and policy over these elections. And the chief executive of ECZ also speaks on behalf of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, which is supposed to be independent. But we have a cocktail of confusion because they’re all not sincere. They’re all crooked one way or the other and they want to cheat the people of Zambia. I must say it plainly that PF as a government has lost the mandate to govern. It has lost its legitimacy; it has no moral right to preside over the affairs and welfare of the people of Zambia.”