CHIRUNDU UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima says the Zambia Statistical Agency (ZSA) is aiding the Electoral Commission of Zambia to register fewer voters.
ZSA estimated that the country had 8.4 million voters, representing 47 percent of the population, according to the 2010 census results.
But in an interview, Syakalima wondered why the Agency had been quiet when the Electoral Commission of Zambia projected 9 million voters.
“Zamstats are now aiding ECZ so that ECZ doesn’t give us a normal number of voters. The ECZ said 9 million now they are saying according to the 2010 statistics it is 8.4. The whole thing is suspicious. We don’t trust ECZ anymore, another institution has gone inside so that we don’t trust them also. What type of the PF government is this where we can’t trust all government institutions? And you can see they are the ones that have let ECZ give four days to capture 2.6 million voters. Where are they going to get those numbers? The quarrel between the citizens and ECZ started way back in October so where was the Zamstats? It is very disheartening. In any case who tells them that we can depend on projections? We were supposed to do a census, why didn’t they do a census? This is why we were saying that let them tell us the projections per province,” said Syakalima.
“We were told that they were projecting 110,000 NRCs in Luapula, same with Western Province but in Luapula they had 180,000 people who got NRCs so where did (Stephen) Kampyongo get those projections? Is it from the statistician general? Everything is done in secrecy, these are just crooks! They have just brought another confusion, simply because they are the ones who can give official statistics, where were they all this time? The census was going to tell us the truth rather than projections. This electoral process is a dirty game. Electoral Commissions in Africa have brought problems in many counties, let ECZ not bring problems to our country. The violence under PF is bad enough.”
During a press briefing, interim statistician general Mulenga Musepa warned that any statistics issued by any organisation other than his agency were not official and had no legal basis.
He wondered where the Electoral Commission of Zambia got the nine million eligible voters estimation.
“Eligibility for voting in terms of the age is 18 years and above in Zambia. In estimating the voting eligibility population, the Agency has carried forward the eligibility population of 47 percent from the 2010 Census results. This is on the assumption that the age structure does not change much between two Census periods which in the case of Zambia spans over 10 years. In respect of the above, the 47 percent age structure was applied to all projected district populations and aggregated to come up with an estimate of 8,414,839 eligible voters. This means that any statistics issued by any persons or organisation other than the Agency are not official and have no legal basis,” said Musepa.
“It is worth-noting that population projections like other projections must be used with some caution due to associated and unavoidable limitations. In general, limitations to the projections arise from several and complex interaction of social and economic factors affecting population change. One specific characteristic of population projections is that the reliability of projections decreases over time, in particular beyond five years hence the need to now carry out a census. These limitations can only be reduced through a Census of Population and Housing for which Zambia plans to conduct next year in order to have more reliable and accurate figures.”