GOVERNMENT has advised the electorate to leave the polling stations immediately after casting their vote.
And government has urged employers to ensure that no employee is disfranchised on account of being at work.
In a statement read on his behalf by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga at a media briefing, Wednesday, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti urged political parties to respect the law by allowing only their designated election and polling agents to remain within the polling stations to avoid causing disorder.
“Government further advises the electorate to leave the polling stations after casting their vote. Section 89(1) (f) of the Electoral Process Act No.35 of 2016 prohibits any person on any polling day from loitering in any public place within four hundred metres from the entrance of any polling station. Government expects that political parties will respect the law and allow only their designated election and polling agents to remain within the polling stations to avoid causing disorder,” Dr Miti said.
He added that security had been heightened in some identified hotspots, specifically where violence had been recorded.
“Government wishes to emphasize the need for peace before, during and after voting and reminds all citizens that adequate security measures have been put in place to ensure that peace continues to exist before, during and after the elections. Security has been heightened in some identified hotspots, specifically where violence has been recorded. In the rest of the country, about 95 percent of the country, regular policing by the Zambia Police Service is expected to be adequate to maintain law and order. Let us remain “One Zambia, One Nation” even after tomorrow, Thursday 12th August, 2021,” Dr Miti stated.
He reiterated that August 12 and 13 were non-working days and further urged employers to ensure that no employee was disfranchised on account of being at work.
“Government wishes to, once again, inform the general public that tomorrow, Thursday 12th August, 2021, shall be observed as a public holiday in accordance with Article 56(2) of the Constitution, which provides that the day on which a general election is held shall be a public holiday. Government also wishes to repeat its earlier pronouncement that Friday 13th August, 2021, shall be a non-working day. This is to enable workers that would travel to vote in other towns to return home and also to enable workers to rest, as some are likely to spend long hours on voting queues,” Dr Miti said.
“In view of the foregoing, Government wishes to urge employers to ensure that no employee is disfranchised on account of being at work. Employers providing essential services, whose employees may not stay away from work longer than necessary, are strongly advised to put measures in place that will ensure that essential workers are given an opportunity to cast their vote without disrupting the provision of essential services.”
Dr Miti also urged citizens to adhere to the COVID-19 preventive measures as they cast their vote.
“Government further wishes to remind the electorate that the election tomorrow is taking place in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, Government wishes to reiterate its call for citizens to adhere to the Covid-19 preventive measures. Government urges all citizens to mask up as they make their way to the polling stations and to maintain a distance of at least one meter from each other throughout the voting process. Citizens are also reminded to constantly sanitize their hands as they engage in the voting procedures at the polling station,” said Dr Miti.