LIUWA UPND member of parliament Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says it is an insult for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to suggest that the 2021 voter’s register is the most secure.
Last week, ECZ said the 2021 voters register was the most complete and secure in Zambia’s history.
In an interview, Dr Musokotwane said the Commission was annoying people by suggesting that.
“They are just annoying people even more. It is the worst register in the history of this country. I say so because to register people as voters you need people to have NRCs and us from the Western Province we kept on telling the Minister of Home Affairs the time that exercise of NRCs was going on that we had challenges. We believe that it was deliberate on the side of the government not to give so much NRCs to people of the Western Province. The voter registration is worse than it was last time. In Liuwa for example, we had 15,000 registered voters in 2016, now we are down to 14,000 when every common sense suggests that we could have gone beyond 15,000. Why did it not happen? Because the youths were denied the opportunity to obtain NRCs. If you ask all the members of parliament from Western Province, they will tell you that the performance of Home Affairs Minister in dishing out NRCs was very inefficient,” said Dr Musokotwane.
“So how does anyone then say ‘this voter’s roll is the best that this country has ever had’? For us we find that to be insulting and it is extremely insensitive for those who are in charge of this institution to utter those statements. We kept on telling the Minister of Home Affairs that people have been left out, the Minister kept on saying ‘we did not mobilise’ we did mobilise people. But there was no one to attend to them because those issuing NRCs did not appear in the places they said they would be. They never visited some wards. The end result, out of a target of 100,000 youths to receive NRCs for the first time, only 51,000 received NRCs. And of course with that, the number of people to register as voters automatically goes down. Contrast this with Luapula Province, the target was 100,000 NRCs, it was almost double, they issued 180,000.”
At a press briefing, Friday, ECZ chief electoral officer Patrick Nshindano said the Commission applied equity in the administration of electoral services.
“Elections are critical to the stability of this country for social, economic and political and we need to ensure that whatever we are doing is based on facts and the Commission is doing just that. Zambia for the first time in its history has the most complete register one can talk of, has the most secure register one can talk of in terms of its integrity. This is something that has never happened before. You the media will attest and I remember being queried in this very conference room that ‘why has the Commission deployed more kits to opposition strongholds?’ And our answer was simply the same, for us we apply equity in the administration of electoral services. In the same vain, even when it comes to voting, you will note for example the Southern has the highest number of turnouts, 70 percent whilst other areas in the country record an average of 50 percent. Would you say the commission really favored other areas? If you look at past records, Luapula, Muchinga had the lowest number of registered voters in comparison to the eligible population, would you say the commission favored a particular political party? No,” said Nshindano.