The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says it is disappointed with the low voter turnout demonstrated in the just ended Mayoral by-election which has drastically reduced from over 50% to about 16%.

ECZ Public relations Manager Margaret Chimanse told News Diggers in an interview that the voter turnout was generally very low, even though she abstained from comparing the turnout to previous elections that the country has held.

“This is the first Mayoral by-election we’ve had so we cannot really compare it to any other election. It’s different when you vote with other general elections because people tend to come for all the other elections and vote, so you can’t really compare it. It’s the first time we are having a big by-election like this one. But generally, this voter turnout was low, it was very low. I wouldn’t really know why people chose not to vote but this is something we would like to find out as ECZ. I think all of us have to sit down and see why voters did not come out to vote. There are many players in the electoral process, we have political players, we have the Church, we also have the Electoral Commission of Zambia, and all of us a role to play. So I think we need to sit down and find strategic ways of engaging the electorate so that they come and vote,” she said.

“This is not something you can just sit alone and think to say ‘what happened?’ but you need to do a deeper analysis and understand what went wrong. So I think that is what we need to do going forward so that we see where we can improve. Otherwise, this is disappointing, it’s concerning. It’s not a good thing at all, that’s why I am saying that we must sit down together with other stakeholders and see the way forward,” said Chimanse.

On Friday, July 2016, Lusaka residents elected Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Miles Sampa as the new mayor of the City, taking over from the late Wilson Kalumba to keep the Lusaka City Council under the ruling party’s charge.

However, officials, including the Republican President Edgar Lungu, bemoaned the low voter turnout in which only less than 20 per cent of all registered voters in Lusaka took part in the election.