FORMER Attorney General Musa Mwenye State Counsel says it is impossible to register 20,000 prisoners in a week.
And Mwenye says the registration process is painfully slow.
On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said the voter registration for prisoners in correctional facilities would be conducted in the last phase of the mobile registration exercise.
But in an interview, Mwenye said the whole process gave a lot of cause for concern.
“It is certainly not possible to register prisoners in only one week when it is believed there are about 20,000 prisoners. The whole process is giving a lot of cause for concern and the poor communication from ECZ is making a bad situation worse. It is worrying. Zambia has held several elections and ECZ is one of the more experienced Electoral management bodies in sub Saharan Africa. It is therefore surprising that we are facing what appears to be elementary problems in the process. It is not clear why we are facing these problems. Ample time should be allocated for the process as this is a very important process,” Mwenye said.
Mwenye said ECZ should have segmented the process by allowing a period for people who were already registered to validate their details and another period for the registration of new voters.
“The process of voter registration is painfully slow. It appears that there is no difference between those who registered online and those who haven’t! You all have to queue up for hours on end. In most areas, only one official is available catering for so many people, placing so much pressure on these officials. From what I have seen from the deployment schedules, it appears that polling stations will be allocated seven days each instead of the initial 30 days. If this is true, I will be impressed if the ECZ captures more than 2.5 Million voters. Voter registration should be as simple as possible so that you can encourage people to register. In fact, what the ECZ should have done is to possibly segment the process by allowing a period for people who are already registered to validate their details and another period for the registration of new voters,” said Mwenye.