TRANSPORT and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya says he is satisfied with the voter registration exercise in his Lunte constituency of Northern Province.
But Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to extend the voter registration exercise deadline given the low number of registered voters.
In an interview, Kafwaya said that the number of citizens registering in Lunte constituency was progressively increasing.
“I don’t know what the target for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is for Lunte. They have not shared with me so I cannot state whether we have reached the target or not. I am satisfied with the trend because it is showing that the numbers are increasing. But we had few instances where machines were broken down. In one instance, the machine was taken to Lusaka, but at the moment we don’t have that; all machines are now working. I think the ECZ has provided standard manpower although they are not in all polling stations at the same time, they are changing. When they finish one polling station, they move to another polling station. In some places, we have long queues; in some places, not so long,” said Kafwaya.
But in a separate interview, Mwiimbu wondered what had changed because Kafwaya complained that the process was slow.
“I am shocked to hear that statement coming from Mutotwe Kafwaya. You may recall that two weeks ago in his constituency, the voter registration was not being run smoothly because of the slowness of the whole process and that the people had gone to catch caterpillars! I would like to state that, as UPND and other stakeholders in the country, including PF from the highest office holder in PF President (Edgar) Lungu, have complained pertaining to the voter registration in the country. Their own secretary general (Davies Mwila) and other senior leaders are on record complaining pertaining to the slow process. I don’t know what they have done as far as we are concerned, they had complained that the whole process was slow and that they did not have adequate manpower and equipment. Unless something has happened to increase the rate of registration in Lunte,” Mwiimbu said.
And Mwiimbu maintained that it will be folly for the ECZ not to extend the voter registration exercise, which lapses next Saturday.
“I and other members of the UPND are also on record complaining that the process has been tedious and it has come at the wrong time when most of the villagers and small-scale farmers are busy cultivating in their fields, and as you may be aware, it is raining heavily in most of the areas. So, even traversing the areas will be difficult on the part of would-be voters. As a result of the slow process of the voter registration, we, as UPND, and other stakeholders are calling on the ECZ to extend the voter registration as is the situation currently they have not even met 40 per cent of the would-be voters that are being targeted,” urged Mwiimbu.
“It will be folly for them not to extend the voter registration because it has failed to achieve the intended goal. The ECZ has indicated to the nation that in the first and second phase, it was less than two million. It just shows that there is something wrong. If ECZ is representing the interest of Zambians, they must listen to the cries of every legitimate concern that is being expressed by stakeholders and the only way they