FORMER vice-president Dr Guy Scott says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) needs about 12 more weeks to cover all would be voters.
In an interview, Dr Scott noted that people who were spending hours on voter registration queues were getting more upset with government’s incompetence.
“On voter registration, it is very clear that the process has not been fully thought through. We can all see that the time is totally inadequate and must be extended. At this rate, around 12 weeks will be required to attend to all would-be voters. Just as worrying are the many stories of irregularities at registration centres, groups of unknown people being brought in, the presence of cadres and PF officials apparently managing the process, and the failures in NRC renewal and issuance, all of these create bias, or a perception of bias, which does not bode well for democracy,” Dr Scott said.
“For an election to be legitimate, a transparent registration process is essential. It seems odd to me that any government would contemplate such shambles. I have met many people who have spent as long as 14 hours on a queue, getting crosser and crosser with such a level of incompetence. As a politician, if I was part of this, I wonder how I would then manage to convince the same person to put their trust in me!”
Dr Scott said said ECZ’s fecklessness was capable of destroying the country.
“It’s all very well ECZ saying that they won’t extend the process, but what we need is an explanation of how they will register as many as 9 million voters. Along with that, they need to explain how they will improve the process so as not to waste so much time, or to exclude those who are not able to spend many hours on the queue,” said Dr Scott.
“I would like to applaud all employers who have given employees time off to register. Others may say it can be done on a weekend, but I think it’s best for employers to show their support for democracy and allow their employees time to exercise their right to register as a voter. The issue of voter registration is very serious indeed. I hope ECZ appreciates this, a country can be destroyed by such fecklessness.”