ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano says it is not possible for foreign nationals to register as voters because the commission’s screening process can detect them.
On Saturday, UPND Secretary General Steven Katuka alleged that the Patriotic Front was ferrying foreign nations from Congo to obtain National Registration Cards and thereafter voters’ cards.
“We caution ECZ, let them do that which is right for the Zambia people. They do not own the Zambian people like the PF feels. They don’t own anybody. They are working for the Zambian people and on behalf of the Zambia people. That’s what we are saying. Why don’t they have the plan for extension? Because even you, if you had set goals for yourself, and you don’t seem to be meeting those goals, there is always a chance of you adjusting and the only adjusting they can do is to extend so that they can capture more people. But we are aware and we are talking that in Luapula as we speak, the PF are ferrying people from Congo to come and register. We are also aware that they are getting school children from schools without even the consent of their parents,” charged Katuka.
“They take them to go and take NRC’s even before they reach the age of obtaining an NRC and then take them to register. That information we have is on the table. It’s happening now in Luapula and r provinces, their perceived strongholds. And if you look at the figures they have released, it is clear that those figures can’t be true. How can Muchinga have more people than Southern province? In terms of population, Muchinga hasn’t got more people than the Southern province. In the last recent election Southern province had over one million voters plus, and now they are struggling over 800. When people have been ferrying to go and register. So, we are not convincing with what ECZ is doing no wonder we say ECZ is colluding with the PF. All what we are seeing are the worst of the two working together to try and help PF win an election.”
But in an interview, Nshindano said the ECZ screening process made it impossible for foreigners to register as voters.
“Nothing has been brought to our attention, it’s actually not possible to register foreigners, this is because one to register has to have a green National Registration Card (NRC) and the kits are pre-configured with the National Registration Cards district codes, anything outside will not accept, even new districts were rejected until we updated the kits. So the only way one would register is if they are holders of NRCs implying they are Zambians,” Nshindano said.
However, UPND National Youth Chairperson Gilbert Liswaniso charged that ECZ couldn’t detect any illegality because they were party to the shortcomings.
“The ECZ themselves are part of the illegality which is happening so they cannot see anything wrong. All this misinformation, misunderstanding, the ECZ is part of them. All these short comings we are seeing in the voter registration exercise are part of the wrong doing by the ECZ. So they cannot say anything, they cannot say yes or no because they are part of all this. For us stakeholders who are telling them and reminding them, it’s up to them to take this serious and listen to the people that they are working for. This voter registration is for political groups, church leaders, traditional leaders and all Zambians. So they have a duty to listen to us but they have chosen to ignore. We told them you need to extend the voter registration but they have maintained that it will end on the 12th. We wonder in whose interest they are acting,” said Liswaniso in an interview.
“Let people participate and let the ECZ listen to what we are telling them. They need to know that we are concerned and they have to address those concerns. We don’t want the 2016 situation, because in 2016, it’s the ECZ that gave us a President and not the people of Zambia. Our election was stolen because they didn’t listen to what we were advising them. We don’t want that to happen again. So you can see that illegality is being created and the ECZ has just decided to ignore them. They are equally ignoring these reports of people, foreigners registering as voters. They are also ignoring report of underage teenagers registering as voters. Let them for once show that they have the interest of Zambians at heart.”