PEOPLE’S Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda says the Electoral Commission of Zambia is being rigid by not wanting to extend the timeframe for voter registration.

And Banda says now is not the right time to talk about an opposition alliance ahead of the 2021 general election.

ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano recently said the commission would not extend the 30-day voter registration exercise timeframe because everything must be prepared and set towards the date that had already been enshrined in the Constitution for the 2021 general elections in August.

But Banda, in an interview, said the timeframe set for voter registration by the Electoral Commission of Zambia was not adequate to reach the targeted 2.3 million new voters.

He said people should not be surprised if the ECZ starts playing tricks with the process, charging that the electoral body was controlled by the PF.

“In our meeting with ECZ, we did mention on the voter registration and more so for the number of voters they are targeting. They are targeting about 2.3 million in a period of one month. We told them one month is not enough and some of the proposals we said were that they need to start the online registration early, so that voters can start registering before the time of the physical registration begins. We know that the ECZ is controlled by the PF government and it wouldn’t be surprising if there are tricks that are to be played. We may find that voter registration would have happened in the so called PF strongholds and then it has not happened in the opposition strongholds. Definitely, we will have new strongholds as we go into 2021,” Banda said.

“So the ECZ should not be rigid because this is a do or die election; people have to register to vote. We don’t want a situation where voters are disadvantaged. We have a lot of people who don’t like to stand in queues, we need to make sure that we take care of everyone and ensure that this issue is settled out. I don’t think ECZ will lose out if they even do it for another six weeks or a month, I don’t think they will lose out because this is the most critical part of the electoral calendar.”

And Banda said it is not wise to rush into alliances for the sake of change.

He said Zambians must be given chance to make their electoral decisions in a proper way.

“As the People’s Alliance for Change, we believe that it is better to bring about change but we want a situation where people are sure about the change they need going into 2021. I think rushing into creating alliances just for the sake of change, these are situations where you find people start calling for change every five years. We should not forget that 10 years ago, people were calling for change, again they want change, they are saying that they are tired; this is because we have not given the people a chance to actually choose their leaders in a proper way,” said Banda.

” Now, we want to play with the anger of the people and their desperation to bring out change? That should not be allowed. In any event, this is democracy…for now, we need to let all political parties to play their role by selling themselves ahead of the elections. We don’t want a situation where a few stakeholders are programming people to start calling for the opposition to come together. I think if they have strong manifestos, it would be good for them to encourage voters to pay attention to all the candidates as they make the right decision. We don’t want change just for the sake of change.”