UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says it is surprising that President Edgar Lungu is blaming the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for its operational failures when it is the ruling party which has orchestrated “organised confusion” in slowing down the registration process.

On Wednesday, President Lungu complained that the ECZ had not been equal to the task and most citizens were frustrated due to the slow process to register as voters.

But in an interview, Kakoma argued that the ruling party planned the slow registration process to frustrate and disenfranchise voters and were only pretending to show concern.

“We believe that the PF are just playing games. It is their strategy; they planed it to create this confusion. And now that this confusion has come, they want to make it look like they are not part of the confusion. And the confusion is that they planned as early as March, this year, that they were ready to conduct voters’ registration, but from March up to now, we now see that the ECZ has a shortage of manpower. But they planned to have a shortage of manpower. We now see that they have shortage of machines, but they ordered the machines knowing that they are not adequate for the exercise. And we are also seeing that they are now running out of materials like ink and this is with the knowledge of government. They are the ones that approved the funding and the funding was such that they could buy those limited materials. They are the ones that approved the short period of registration of 30 days to capture nine million voters. It is with the knowledge of the President and his approval,” said Kakoma.

“It is surprising that they can turn around and blame the ECZ. We don’t believe that they are genuine concerns in their antagonising over what is transpiring. For us, we believe it was a well-orchestrated scheme to disenfranchise some Zambians, especially those suspected to be in UPND strongholds so that they build an in-built majority for the PF to win and for President Edgar Lungu to win. These are our suspicions. It is organised confusion! It is more frustrating for us in the opposition. Obviously, there are also complaints by the PF because they have been caught up in this organised confusion. We have seen them ferrying people in buses and taking them to registration centres and forcing the registration officers to give priority to PF cadres to register. Everybody else in the queue is ignored.”

Speaking when he met senior chief Mwase, chief Kapichila and chief Mphamba in Lundazi District, 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,” said President Lungu.