THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has submitted to the Constitutional Court that it has not violated any provision of the Constitution by deciding to conduct voter registration for the 2021 elections for only 30 days.
It has argued that the registration of voters and prescription of the cut-off dates with respect to the registration of voters and the compilation of the register of voters was prescribed under the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016.
ECZ has, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the petition by Chapter One Foundation with costs.
In this matter, Chapter One Foundation Limited has petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking an order mandating the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to carry out continuous voter registration between elections.
It argued that ECZ had violated the Constitution by deciding to conduct voter registration for the 2021 elections over a period of 30 days only.
Chapter One Foundation which cited ECZ and the Attorney General as respondents in the matter, further wants the court to make an order mandating the Attorney General to implement the mobile issuance of National Registration cards throughout the country.
In its petition, the civil society organisation argued that the government had breached the Constitution by implementing the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) in a manner that contravenes the Constitution.
But in its answer to the petition, ECZ submitted that in the performance of its functions, it was guided by relevant electoral laws, including the Constitution of Zambia, the Electoral Process Act No.35 of 2016, the Electoral Commission of Zambia Act No.25 of 2016 and regulations promulgated under these laws.
It added that Article 229 (2)(c) of the Constitution (Amendment) Act No.2 of 2016 merely mandated it to register voters, however the process of registration thereof was prescribed under the Electoral Process Act.
And in an affidavit in support of its answer, ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano stated that the process of registration of voters was prescribed under the Electoral Process Act and not the Constitution.
“In the premises, ECZ prays that the petition herein be dismissed with costs,” submitted ECZ.