PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has not been equal to the task and most people are frustrated.
And President Lungu says it is strange that the PF government has been given positive reviews everywhere he has visited except in Lundazi where it seems the ruling party has completely failed to deliver.
Speaking when he met Senior Chief Mwase, Chief Kapichila and Chief Mphamba in Lundazi, Wednesday, President Lungu said people were finding it worthless to spend two days on a voter registration queue at the expense of cultivation.
“I am here today for a number of reasons but primarily to see what development has taken place here from the time I visited. And secondly is to encourage you or rather ask you to humbly help us to get our people to register as voters. This is an exercise going on countrywide and people in all parts of the country are registering. I am appealing to you because I realise that with your support, this job will be easier for us to monitor and motivate people who are eligible to vote, to go and vote. I must say it has been difficult because the Electoral Commission of Zambia has not really been equal to the task. They have challenges and most of our people are frustrated. And timing is not the best because this is an agricultural season people find it worthless if I may use that term to spend a whole day or two on the queue only to get a voter’s cards when they can be in the field cultivating and planting because this is the season,” President Lungu said.
“And because of that we need to convince them really to show them why it is important as the ECZ tries to upgrade its performance to a level which is efficient and time saving. We are discussing these matters with them and I am told they are responding and elsewhere they are recording improved efficiency in registering our nationals by giving them registration cards. With those challenges, I think it takes a lot of persuasion to the citizens to go and vote. That is why I think we should involve you. Apart from these challenges, I think it’s good to exercise your right to participate in the governance system in the country.”
He called on the chiefs to sensitise people on the need to be peaceful ahead of next year’s general elections.
“And also that we will be going for elections very soon, next year, it is important that we keep sensitising our people for the need to be peaceful, co-exist and to agree that yes you can differ in terms of choice or preference but it will not help to injure one another, to destroy the country, destroy property as we are seeing elsewhere. We are one people and we have a common destiny. The destiny is next to our unity and peace. With that destroyed, we destroy our oneness. So we are calling upon you as traditional leaders through your village headmen establishment set ups in the Royal families to just get to the people,” he said.
President Lungu assured the chiefs that their plight would be looked into.
“Let me assure you on your welfare that the government is committed to make sure that your welfare was looked into and properly catered for. I am talking about the concerns which you have not expressed here out of probably being nice to me but we are aware that some of you have no vehicles. But we will do our part, on my part as President, we are looking for resources to ensure that at least we get you vehicles. But since resources are not adequate to get vehicles for all of you at one go, we are doing in phases. I believe that some of you here in Lundazi have vehicles but others don’t have. We know who doesn’t have and we will organise the vehicles,” President Lungu said.
And speaking when he met headmen and women in Lundazi, President Lungu wondered why people in Lundazi complained that the PF government had done nothing in the area.
“It is very important that the connection between the government and the traditional leaders, especially the headmen, is strengthened. But listening to you today I get the impression that not much is being done in Lundazi District. Wherever I have been in Eastern Province, in Northern Province, Central Province and the Copperbelt, I have had positive remarks made about the PF government but from the talk I got this morning, I got the impression that PF has totally failed here in Lundazi, the question is why. So I ask myself a question: why do you choose the wrong people? Because it is unbelievable that the PF government has failed to deliver only in Lundazi but in Chipata it is delivering, other districts it is delivering, it is incredible for me,” President Lungu said.
“You see, we have had governments before. UNIP government 27 years you can point to something that they have done. MMD government, for 20 years you can point to something that they have done. PF, 10 years others are pointing at things we have done but why not here? I have heard that fertilizer distribution is not enough here but yet elsewhere where I have been given accolades that we have delivered fertilizer and people are ready to go except for a few cooperatives which were not on the FISP list but here it is a total disaster. Education, you have said the people of Lundazi have been left behind. I am asking myself why only in Lundazi? Elsewhere we have built secondary schools, primary schools have been created but why not here? You have told me about a hospital which has been under construction and I have been told by the chiefs and I promise that that hospital will be opened very soon.”
He urged the headmen and women to give credit to the government on things they had done in the area.
“You have talked about roads and bridges being washed out and nothing is being done. This was raised by the chiefs again in there. I have an explanation but I want you to get the explanation. I will ask the minister responsible for roads and bridges to say something about it because I believe something is being done here. Before the minister takes the floor, I want to say that complaints and compliments should go side by side. Because right now, the MP is very bitter and angry with you because something has been done here you know that. So in short what I am saying is that as I sit here, I stand here as President, my wrath is on the area MP to say why don’t you speak for the people of Lundazi and he has been speaking. I know that there are boreholes being done in excess of 130 boreholes here in Lundazi and you know about it but you don’t want to give compliments to the area member of Parliament which is unfair!” he exclaimed.
President Lungu insisted that there had been some progress in the area.
“There was no network here but I know that there is network and some areas need boosting, some areas need electricity but you are saying there is no network here. I want to emphasise that as our leaders as headmen we expect you to pat us on the back and also tell us that development has got no finishing line please do some more that will be encouraging. So I will take note of what you have said and I will go with it. But I will interrogate these issues with the ministers concerned one by one to tell me whether there is nothing happening in the education sector here, whether there is nothing happening in the health sector, whether there is nothing happening in the transport and communication sector, whether there is nothing happening in the energy sector because the picture you have painted is very gloomy,” said President Lungu.
“I will ask myself the questions why my government is busy taking development, infrastructure and otherwise to areas where I got zero votes and neglecting the people who voted for me in numbers.”