Home Headlines Make voting compulsory to address voter apathy-Chipenzi

Make voting compulsory to address voter apathy-Chipenzi

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FILE: European Union Election Observation Mission in Zambia Chief Observer Cecilia Kashetu Kyange with McDonald Chipenzi shows off the General Elections and Referendum Final Report at Intercontinental Hotel shortly briefing

Electoral Activist McDonald Chipenzi has suggested that voting be made compulsory in Zambia in order to address voter apathy which has characterized elections in the recent past.

Mr. Chipenzi, who is Governance, Elections, Advocacy and Research Services (GEARS), Executive Director, said compulsory voting will add value and make people appreciate their rights.

In an interview with ZANIS in Lusaka, he said compulsory voting will reduce the level of voter apathy being experienced in Zambia. especially volume of work attached to holding elections.

Mr. Chipenzi noted that voting is compulsory in Australia.

He said government has made HIV/AIDS testing, entry of Grade Ones and payment of motor vehicles levy compulsory as well as other services and wondered why voting in Zambia should not be compulsory.

“Compulsory voting will make the citizens attach value to an election since people are made aware of these exercises taking place in their location,” Mr. Chipenzi said.

He further said government and Electoral Commission Zambia (ECZ), are spending huge sums of monies on printing of election materials, civic awareness and sensitization as well as payment of human personnel surrounding activities of elections.

Mr. Chipenzi added his voice in expressing grave concern at low voter turn-out in the just ended Kasanengwa parliamentary by-election.

The seat fell vacant following the death of its Member of Parliament Victoria Kalima who was also Gender Minister.

Ruling Patriotic Front (PF), candidate Sensio Banda polled 10, 346 votes beating his counterparts of the opposition United Prosperous for Peaceful (UPP), Abel Ngwenya who polled 1, 673 and People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) candidate John Zulu who polled 1, 597 votes.

Kasanegwa constituency has a total of over 40,000 registered voters but only 13,000 voted.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Fwanya
    That's not democracy Mr Chipenzi think of another strategy which does not infringe on my fundamental human rights of free will.
    • Mpemfu
      That is why Australia is more developed than Zambia. In fact other developed countries are considering that but I guess Zambia is too backward for this idea. Edgar Lungu can not even get the Public Order Act amended
    • Ndanje Khakis
      Only negative things will come out of the mouth of this thing called Chipenzi. Just as it's not compulsory to vote for either Upnd, PF or any other party it's not by force to participate in any voting exercise. We have people like the Jehovahs Witnesses whose faith doesn't not allow them to indulge in politics, are you going to force them and infringe on their rights. In any case if you think by having many voters your man will get that elusive chance, think again.
    • The Real Olivia Pope
      Apathy in Zambia is caused by voter fatigue due to too many deaths and crossing over to ruling parties by elected officials. What Needs to be done is that if there is a death, the party that is holding that seat should appoint a replacement until general elections and if one crosses over to another party, don’t fill up that position until the designated time of elections. That way people don’t have to vote every 2 weeks and it will save ECZ some money too. Voting is not recreational so don’t expect people to be excited about it.
    • Street Kid
      Australia is different. Here even the politicians themselves dont know which side to be on. With all the dribbling from one side to the other, the public can only stand still without an opinion.
  2. Sharon
    Voting is a free choice. It is only compulsory in HH's land. We do not want it to be so everywhere. In fact if it became compulsory it defeats the purpose. Also if it were so, the slightest chance of Childish being elected will evaporate too!
  3. Lweendo The Jesusist
    As a Jesusist. This is what happens when you let others think for you... Let Zambian solutions work for Zambia. Zambia is not any other country in the world. It is the only Zambia, period. Mr Chips my opinion is that you and whoever your advisors are, must go back and do your homework. It is such borrowed thinking that has landed this beautiful country in shambles. Righteousness makes a nation great; Sin is a disgrace to any people...
  4. Njimbu
    These tongas are running out of ideas on how to force their god Kainde into state house!!!Soon they'll propose that animals should be allowed to vote in Zambia too!!! Look Chipenzi-in a democracy,there is no need to force citizens to vote.People have a choice whether to vote or not and whoever stays home is none of your business badaala!!!IF YOUR HH IS POPULAR,THEN HE SHOULD WIN EVEN IF ONLY 5000 (1%) PEOPLE VOTE ACROSS ZAMBIA DURING A GIVEN ELECTION!!!even if more than 90% Zambians vote,your Kainde shall still lose because he is not wanted in 6.5 provinces!!!In case Chipenzi has forgotten,since 2006 HH has lost in Lusaka,Copperbelt,Luapula,Northern,Muchinga,Eastern and bemba speaking areas of Central and this shall be the case in 2021!!
    • Lweendo The Jesusist
      As a Jesusist. A well meaning citizen of this beautiful country should make an objective comment without infringing on other people's tribes. I believe that in this world people think the way they think because they are the way they are, not because of their tribe ,race ,color or something, it is such kind of biased thinking that has landed this beautiful country in shambles. I respect your opinion I don't mind what kind of a human being you are, as long as you are created in the image of The Creator God. Mr Chipezi should question his suggestion.
  5. Hard Truth
    Pathetic reasoning as if implemented will still work. Shallow thinking from so called experts. Don't think this is worthy of news.
  6. Tellitall
    I think it's not about one person to win....the idea is just out of contest in a democracy set up....the example given is way off the rail....people are tired of enriching the elite few meanwhile they are being condemned further in abject poverty .....once someone start to ask...what's in there for them and they see there's nothing really apart from making someone Honourable....it becomes very difficult for them to vote.....ati nakanyelele ngawakatitikisha kalasuma......this is the point we heading to pa Zed.....
  7. shu shu shu
    Macdonald Chipenzi has formed his own NGO, GEARS, to support HH. I think that's where the funding is coming from.
  8. Steve
    Voting is a right that should be respected for all those who go to exercise it, those who stay away are also execercing their right of conscious which should be respected. May say this, the hatred that is being shown for the people of the south is alarming and will one bring dispeakable consequences. The more you isolate and malign a people, you make them strong. See what happen to isreal in Egypt! Let's just debate without looking down upon ones ethinincity. God did not make a mistake for any one of us to be belong to a region that we belong to. Please please i make a partionate appeal again, lets stop this hatred.
  9. loud and smart
    As much as I believe that everyone has to vote, I cannot 'force' or 'compel' others to do what I believe in. Honest self introspection on low voter turn out is needed. Ask yourselves why 1991 was the highest (I stand to be corrected!) voter turnout ever in Zambia.
  10. MrK
    Ms Dumbisa Moyo of Goldman Sachs also suggested the same thing - how odd. Here is an idea: present the electorate with candidates who represent them, not the mining industry/World Bank/IMF, and people will become interested in showing up. What's next, going into people's homes and forcing them to vote at gunpoint? The anti-democratic individuals who suggest these ideas don't understand that not voting because they whole system is bought by the billionaires is a democratic right in itself. And now they want to make you pay for exercising that right. They don't get the whole democracy thing.
  11. Jean Bonheur
    Mr. Chipenzi, voting is a right. I do not expect to be forced to exercise it, but will choose when to exercise it.
  12. Dokowe
    The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by incompetent men. Let citizens be forced to go and cast a vote, what they do with the ballot paper should be up to them. If they have to cast a blank one it should be up to them provided that that's how they choose to protest. Compulsory voting doesn't necessarily meaning voting for someone, it means people showing up and casting a vote (blank or not). You see optional voting is undemocratic, the poor and disadvantaged are usually the majority ones to exercise voter apathy. If citizens stay away from participating in national affairs like voting it simply means the govt is failing them miserably that they can't even voice their dissatisfaction. I believe it would also really guarantee prisoners to voting. Compulsory voting...
  13. Dokowe
    Cont... Compulsory voting can also eliminate the regional voting patterns that we've seen in all the previous elections. Optional voting promotes the idea of wako ni wako. Let's look at the positive side of this. This in my opinion would make the govt accountable to the people they rule. This in my opinion would make the govt accountable to the people they rule.
  14. Street Kid
    Australia is different. In our country, the politicians themselves don't know which side to be on. With all the dribbling from one side to the other, the public can only stand still without an opinion.
  15. vendor
    Why should we vote when we know the politicians are in it only for themselves. Its like going out of your way to vote for which party will give their ministers the best SUVs... meanwhile the voting Jelita and Mulenga in the compound will continue to be insignificant. Why bother
  16. Musangu
    Chipenzi has lost it on this one and rhis statement should expose him even to the funders of his organisation that he is an opposition politic player riding on an NGO. As far as I kniw voting is already compulsory in Zambia but a voter has to be willing to participate unless he suggests military personnel should be deployed to force people participate. The only limitation is age for which we all could agree that at 18 yrs one will be matured to make well informed decision.
  17. Ndanje Khakis
    Just been checking. ...in 2016 out of 6m plus registeedvoters only just below 4m voted. Same in the USA only 54% voted as compared to 62% who voted the previous elections. I may be wrong but I think people have either lost interest in voting for human beings or are just too busy with other important things.
  18. Daniel D Chisebwe
    Apathy in Voting we experiencing right now its form of protest. We don’t have John McCann, of Zambia whom served in armed forces and can speak truth to power.
  19. Cosmos
    Its not Australia but NZ too but in both countries you are not forced to vote just appear at the polling station and have your name crossed off the list as voted. like everything in zambia the locals are just too lazy to anything but are the first to complain of the new govt of the day.
  20. Judge Fyonkofyonko
    Voter apathy simply means people have completely lost confidence in the electoral system. Like what happened in the August 2016 elections. People who voted decided NOTHING but those who COUNTED the votes decided EVERYTHING.
  21. Truth Hates
    You just eat alone and don't care for the people who vote. So just start voting for your selves. 2021 It will be worse.