VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina has urged members of parliament to trust the country’s electoral process and engage the Electoral Commission of Zambia whenever they feel aggrieved.

She was speaking in response to a question from Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu who asked whether the Electoral Commission of Zambia had any plans to discard the 2016 voters register, if there were such plans, why and if there were no such plans, how the newly registered voters would be included in the 2016 register and what mechanism the government used to determine that over 1.4 million voters needed to be deleted from the 2016 voters register.

In her response, Vice-President Wina said the need for a new voters register was as a result of recommendations by stakeholders and an external audit of the register.

“Mr Speaker, in response to the question raised by honourable Mwiimbu, I wish to inform this August House that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will compile a new register of voters for the 2021 general elections. B, the commission took into consideration the following factors in arriving at the decision made. Credibility of the current register of voters, the House may wish to note that stakeholders questioned the credibility of the voter register that was used in the 2016 general elections. They further requested for an audit of the register before the elections on 11th August 2016. Arriving from stakeholder concerns, external auditors were engaged with the help of the UNDP under a program called electoral cycle project to audit the 2016 register of voters. One of the recommendations of the auditors was for the commission to compile a new register for the 2021 general elections,” Vice-President Wina said.

“Delimitation of electoral boundaries, constituencies, wards, polling districts, polling stations including shifting, renaming of some polling stations. Enhance the integrity of register strengthening, enhanced security features including the capture of biometric data, 10 finger prints and portrait. This will be a requirement of the new register. The UPND petitioned in the courts of law that the 2016 general election results on the basis that the voter register was flawed. International and local observer missions recommended that the commission compiles a new register for the 2021 general elections in order to maintain a credible free and fair electoral process as demanded in a democratic dispensation. Mr Speaker based on these factors, the commission resolved to compile a new register of voters for the 2021 general elections in 2020.”

And in response to Chitambo MP who wanted to find out which region the majority of the 1.4 million dead people on the register come from, Vice-President Wina said lack of trust in the process is what causes conflicts after elections.

“Mr Speaker, it is not possible to give statistics as to which province lost more people than the other but what I urge honourable member of parliament is to have trust in these systems, if we continue to erode that trust, that’s where conflicts arise after elections. We should try to ensure that we support ECZ where it is faltering, we give advice and ECZ is committed to consult stakeholders at every move that they make is the electoral process so honourable members have a platform to engage ECZ where they feel that they are not very pleased with the process that is being undertaken by ECZ. That will help us to ensure that there is trust in the electoral process,” she said.

In response to a follow up question on whether the current register would be used from Mwiimbu, Vice-President Wina said it would be used because it was the one being cleaned to come up with a new register.

“Mr Speaker, if the honourable member may recollect, what I said was that the old voter register will be used but it will be cleaned and whoever is on that voter register will have to be registered on the new register so that their biometric features are captured and this is I believe what I said. So we are still using the old register, we are taking out the voters from that register unto a new voter register. So the people who appear on the old register have to show themselves before the registration officers so that these new features are captured and then they are included in the new register,” said Vice-President Wina.