Despite the hiccups to the start of the voter registration, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has managed to register slightly over 1.1 million voters countrywide in the first phase of the voter registration exercise.
Giving a ministerial statement in Parliament today in response to a point of order raised by UPND Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu who wanted to find out whether ECZ will manage to register its target of 9 million voters, Vice President Inonge Wina said that more data will be provided by the ECZ at the end of the registration exercise.
Mrs. Wina assured the nation that the ECZ will be able to review the voter registration exercise after each phase and that the officers will be able to go back to capture those that will be left out.
Meanwhile, The Patriotic Front (PF) has expressed happiness at the steady improvement of the voter registration exercise in Kitwe.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, PF Kitwe District Chairman Evaristo Chilufya said the first phase of the exercise at the beginning had a lot of challenges but following quick interventions by the Electoral Commission, the process has become faster.
“The process is slowly improving, it cannot improve in one day, as stakeholders we are concerned with the slow pace at which the process was going on in the first phase, we are engaging the ECZ and other stakeholders in trying to address the situation otherwise the process has improved and it is going on smoothly,” Mr Chilufya said.
Recently, the ECZ disclosed that it had reinforced manpower in registration centres to try and quicken up the process.
On Monday this week, the Commission also withdrew voter Education Facilitators from the field and redeployed them to registration centres so as to beef up man power in the registration centres.
And Mr. Chilufya has downplayed the concerns by some people that registering people in the night is exposing them to attacks by criminals and that the new cards would be grabbled from them by unscrupulous people.
But Kitwe Pastors Fellowship has expressed worry that the pace at which the voter registration exercise is going on in the district is still slow considering the estimated number of eligible voters.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS, Kitwe Pastors Fellowship chairperson Reverend Raddy Lewila said the Electoral Commission will not be able to capture the nine million target voters if nothing is done.
“The Electoral Commission should do something to improve the situation, otherwise the 9 million voter target will not be captured and a lot of people will not be able to vote, there is no way one person can be handling one person through all the stages taking over 30 minutes,” Reverend Lewila complained.
He also noted that the one week duration allocated for each registration centre was not enough given the slow pace at which the process is going.
He said the government should intervene and correct the situation before many people are disfranchised through failure to obtain voters’ cards.
He said he has been to several centres around the district and the situation is the same everywhere.