[By Oliver Chisenga and Kelvin Siabana]
OPERATION Young Vote says if allegations that the PF government has inadequately funded the Electoral Commission of Zambia for the voter registration exercise are anything to go by, attaining the targeted nine million voters will not only be a tall order but would also have an adverse impact on the entire electoral cycle and process.
OYV executive director Guess Nyirenda said his organisation had noted with dismay that the negativity that had shrouded the ongoing voter registration exercise was the consequence of the alleged inadequate and poor funding of the ECZ.
He said whereas the ECZ was being subjected to the alleged poor flow of resources from the Treasury, the commission was seemingly imperiling the voter registration officers’ inspirations of carrying out their huge task of registering eligible citizens as voters by having them work without contracts, thus not only exacerbating the negativities but was also demotivating and injurious to the process.
“This to some extent may be explaining why some of the registration officers are too slow in attending to one voter ending up dealing with fewer numbers cumulatively at the end of the day,” Nyirenda said.
OYV recommended that the Treasury releases, without delay, all resources required by the ECZ for the registration exercise.
Nyirenda further recommended that the ECZ immediately draws and signs contracts with each individual voter registration officer.
“OYV is of the considered view that the two (2) matters raised in the above recommendations are pivotal to the attainment of the targeted nine million voters while ignoring them would not only spell doom to the process but also disadvantage and disenfranchise the many eligible citizens from participating in the 2021 national elections,” said Nyirenda.
Meanwhile, Senior Chief Mwamba of the Bemba speaking people in Kasama district has urged his subjects to register as voters for them to choose their preferred leaders in next year’s general elections.
The traditional leader said people should not give a lame excuse for not registering as voters because there were many registration centres dotted around the chiefdom.
The traditional leader encouraged his subjects to go in large numbers to register as voters as it was the only way they could express their views through the ballot box.
“I’m urging all my people not to deliberately disenfranchise themselves by shunning registration centres in different parts of my chiefdom because ECZ has done a recommendable job,” said Mwamba. “The future and the development of the people in the chiefdom lies in the ballot box hence they should not hesitate but register as voters.