OUR Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) chairperson Simon Zukas says he believes the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will eventually extend the voter registration exercise because they would not have met their target by December 12.
And National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Steven Nyirenda has vowed that he will protest if ECZ doesn’t extend the exercise.
In a brief interview, Zukas said ECZ was only insisting on saying there would be no extension to make people take the process seriously.
“I think they are not going to extend because they want everyone to rush there. When the date comes for ending and they will not have completed, there will still be a lot left so then they will extend. You see, if they extend now, people will say ‘oh well, I still have a lot of time’ so they want people to rush so it is a game. I don’t think there is much politics involved, it’s a game,” said Zukas.
And in a separate interview, Nyirenda wondered what the Commission’s motive was by insisting that they would not extend the registration exercise
“I try to ask myself what is their motive? Is their motive to make sure that all the Zambian people exercise their right or they want to take away the rights of the Zambian people? If these guys are working for the people, they will respect the will of the people and their rights. They are going to extend! There are no two ways about it. We are going to march, stand in front of their offices peacefully to make sure that this is extended. I am just coming back from a trip in Eastern Province. There are still millions of people that are waiting to get registered and they are eager to register. What is the motive of the government? What is the motive of ECZ? What is the motive of the President and his agents? We do not understand. They are there because of the people, it is the same vote that put them there. It is the same vote that will move them out,” Nyirenda said.
“We had a presidential summit and we were told, according to the ECZ’s presentation, that all the 8,999 polling stations will be open and they will register 30 people per day. Why are they doing things they did not tell us? They are going against their word. Half of the polling stations are closed. We really wonder what is going on in this country whether they are doing it deliberately or they want to manipulate. Let them leave all those things and do the right things according to the law. There are so many areas they have not touched, people have to walk very long distances and that is a problem. If it has to take me eight hour to walk and get a voter’s card, that is wrong! How do you subject poor people to criminal ways of doing things? We are going to protest! We are going to make a very peaceful protest to make sure that they extend. To make sure that every Zambian has got his right implemented.”
Nyirenda also urged Jehovah’s Witnesses to get voter’s cards.
“It is a plea for us to ask the Jehovah’s Witnesses to make a move this one time to register and go and vote next year. We are all suffering because there is no medicine in hospitals. We are all suffering because there is poor leadership that encourages corruption so if these problems are for all of us, why can’t we join hands?” asked Nyirenda.