THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) says the delayed commencement of phase two of the ongoing mobile NRC registration will not affect the voter registration exercise, which is still scheduled to commence next month.

Last week, Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said the postponement of the NRC registration exercise was caused by delays in the delivery of key equipment to kick-start the process of NRC issuances.

But in a brief interview, ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano said that the Commission was yet to engage the Ministry with a view of understanding the extent the delay of the mobile NRC exercise would have on the voter registration programme.

“We are yet to engage them (Home Affairs Ministry) on the extent of delay and guide accordingly. As it stands, our programme remains unchanged,” said Nshindano.

On Friday, Kampyongo had explained that phase two would commence on September 10 and not September 1 as earlier planned.

“Due to unforeseen delays in delivery of some key equipment, the first few days of the exercise started slowly with teams only working close to the established district centres to allow for access to equipment that was only available at the district levels. During the seven days that followed, the Department (of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship) worked tirelessly to ensure that the rest of the much-needed equipment was on the ground in every district. The exercise gained momentum by the 8th and 9th of August when the teams were finally deployed in the far-flung areas of the provinces,” said Kampyongo.

“Initially, the Ministry had planned to overlap the two phases in order to finish the exercise at least 10 days before the Electoral Commission of Zambia starts voters’ registration on the 19th of October. However, taking into the slow start and the challenges of sharing of equipment and logistics, which the overlap may cause, the Ministry had decided to postpone the starting date for phase two of the exercise from the 1st of September to the 10th of September, 2020. Therefore, phase one will be expected to wind up by the latest, 9th of September, the last day being the 10th, while phase two will commence on 10th September to end 40 days later on the 19th of October, 2020. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already started the distribution of materials and equipment to the phase two provinces. The Ministry regrets any inconvenience this postponement has caused.”