ActionAid urges ECZ to extend voter registration exercise

ACTIONAID Zambia has recommended that the Electoral Commission of Zambia should consider extending the voter registration exercise if the intended nine million target is to be met.

Country director Nalucha Nganga Ziba said the ECZ should consider increasing the number of registration centres and do away with rotation of registration centre as is the current case to support the overwhelming turnout of people wanting to register to vote.

She said ActionAid was concerned with the slow pace of the 2021 national voter’s registration process where the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has been reported to only have managed to register 1.1 million voters, seven days after the registration process commenced with a target of nine million voters to be registered within 30 days.

Ziba said with only 21 days left of the process, based on the current trend and if ECZ “continues in this manner of registering 157,143 on a daily basis, an estimated of slightly over 50 per cent of the set target will be registered”.

“In our view, ECZ has shown lack of preparedness for the voter registration process as the Vice-President, Inonge Wina, announced that an additional 832 registration assistants and field officers are in the process of being recruited and trained,” she said. “As we appreciate the additional resource to support the ongoing voter registration, assessment of the required staff to service the targeted number of voters should have been made before the voter registration process commenced. This would have helped in mitigating some of the issues currently being faced by ECZ such as the inadequate human resource leading to the low number of voters being registered among other challenges.”

Ziba said voting was a constitutional right; therefore, people should not be disenfranchised from voting due to ECZ’s mismanagement of the registration process.

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