WE are concerned that many of our people have decided not to vote in by-elections. Some of the reasons they have given for not participating include: our previous votes have not made any difference. Our vote was a ticket for others to enrich themselves. Our vote was rigged. They, therefore, don’t see any reason why they should vote again. For those same reasons, we see a situation where, come August 2021, these people will abandon their civic duty of taking part in the process of appointing our national leaders. This should worry every well-meaning Zambian.

We wish to remind our citizens that voting is not only their right, but rather their duty. If they withhold their vote, Zambians run a risk of getting into public offices people who have no national interests at heart and who are going to jeopardise the future of their children. They should therefore exercise their right and take up their citizen duty.

The election campaigns that our politicians and their supporters will embark on in the coming months will be a struggle for the soul and the future of Zambia. We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today and these leaders who will be contesting national leadership must be met with the corresponding duty from citizens to vote, and not just vote, but vote wisely.

People should not just complain about the Electoral Commission of Zambia allocating fewer days for voter registration for the sake of politicking, they should take real interest in the process and look forward to registering. When the time comes to obtain National Registration Cards for those who don’t have or those who have lost them, everyone in need should go and do so. When the time comes to register as voters, they should again go and do so. And finally, when the time to vote comes, they should go and vote for the right persons.

Our people must vote for leaders of integrity, regardless of the region they come from, their tribe, language, political or religious affiliation. Zambia needs patriotic leaders; people who place national interest before personal ambitions. We say this because the neglect of the duty of participating in the choice of leaders at all levels brings catastrophic results to the nation. It is a great mistake to shun this responsibility. Our citizens must not make the mistake of thinking that what is happening in Zambia today is the worst that can happen. They should not think we have hit rock bottom, there is still a Zambia to salvage. But to do that, we need the electorate to understand the nature of problem Zambia has – a leadership crisis.

It should be understood that the neglect of participating in the voting and in the election of good leaders allows unworthy candidates to take leadership positions and brings disharmony in our country. To neglect to vote is to lose a person’s right and the nation’s right. Our political responsibility is not limited to voting and electing leaders but also to assist them and where necessary, to criticise them.

Whether our country will have good or bad laws, upright or inefficient administration depends on voters. A person who is able to vote but never votes is guilty of serious negligence. Citizens who do not care for their duty of voting are an easy prey to tyranny. These are the people who have brought us where we are.

Not to vote may mean the wrong person being elected. But our people should be given a chance to vote according to their conscience, in accordance with the highest human values without allowing themselves to be persuaded or dictated to by those with money, by donations of mealie-meal, sugar, cooking oil and even fertiliser, by bribes, threats, self-interest and so on and so forth. They should vote freely. Our National Assembly, our Parliament should not have members who have let us down morally and intellectually.

We urge the Church, Civil Society and all other patriotic organisations to join hands in various civic education initiatives, without supporting or discrediting any political party. May you bring light into our decisions by educating us on this important responsibility of voting. All our problems as a nation boil down to poor leadership. The process of electing leaders starts now, let’s prepare adequately. We only have one Zambia.