The just ended bye-election where only 20% of eligible voters cast their votes is on one hand a signal of voter fatigue. On the other hand, it is a signal of the extent of poverty in the nation.
Since the 2008, Zambians have been subjected to hundreds of bye-elections, punctuated by general elections. At presidential level, there have been four elections in 10 years. On average, this works out to be one presidential election every two and half years. At parliamentary and local government level, it works out at an average of holding a bye-election every month.
Surely, this level of frequency of bye-elections is likely to generate voter vatigue, and exactly is the case this time around.
Voters are simply fed up with bye-elections. This expression is loud and clear through the voter turn-out in these bye-elections.
As regard to the poverty factor, we saw multitudes of people attending rallies just a few hours before the election day. How come those multitudes evaporated over-night? Where did they go? Why were they motivated to dance and sing at the rallies but disinterested to go and vote? Why sing and dance for someone you will not go and vote for the next day? What went wrong over-night?
My view is that those multitudes we saw were largely hungry fellows attending rallies for material ends and not for governance ends. This is dangerous development for the nation because a hungry man is an angry fellow who can resort to doing desperate things.
As leaders, we need to be extremely wary of this development. My colleagues in PF should not celebrate the victory of winning the elections. Rather, they should be wary of the apathetic trend as its end results may manifest into desperate situations.
In this regard, I urge my colleague in PF to seriously consider this development as they contemplate amending the Constitution in December this year.
In various submissions made to the constitutional review commissions, the majority view has been to bring an end to bye-elections for various valid reasons. Progressive proposals were made to this end and published by President Edgar Lungu in the 2014 Final Draft Constitution when he was the Justice Minister.
It is high time the 2014 proposals are implemented to thwart desperate situations in the near future.
Green Party President
27 July, 2018