Voting in the Bulilo Local Government by-election in Chilubi district, Northern Province is under way. Polling stations opened at 06:00 hours and are expected to close at 18:00 hours in accordance with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) regulation.
At Matipa Day Secondary School, 15 voters had cast their votes by 06:25 while long queues had formed for the two polling streams. Presiding Officer, Justin Mwila told ZANIS that there are 1,721 registered voters at Matipa Polling Station.
At Chinikampunudu Polling Station, where there are 464 registered voters, only seven had cast their votes by 06:30 hours. Presiding Officer, Wellingtone Chipulu, said he expected more people to cast their ballots from 10:00 hours as they usually go for crop harvesting in the morning. The situation was not different at Bulilo Polling Station where Six voters had cast their ballots out of 198 registered voters.
Mr Chipulu said more voters are expected to troop to the polling station in the afternoon as it is cold season and voters prefer doing home chores before going to vote.
Bulilo ward has a total number of 2,959 registered voters. The Bulilo local government seat fell vacant following the resignation of the United Party for National Development (UPND) councillor, Albert Lwanga, on April 1, this year.
The Patriotic Front (PF), Movement for Change and Equity (M4CE) and United Party for National Development (UPND) are contesting the council seat. The PF is fielding Wilson Kunda, while M4CE party is represented by John Mwela with the UPND fielding Evans Ngosa.
Meanwhile, The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes SACCORD has commended all the political parties participating in the Bulilo ward in Chilubi Town Council in Northern Province and the Nakato and Imalyo wards in Mongu Town Council in Western Province local by-elections for conducting peaceful campaigns.
SACCORD executive director Boniface Chembe observes that from the time that the campaigns started in line with the Covid-19 measures or guidelines and the Presidential directives, there has not been any major incidence of political violence that has been recorded.
He said in a statement that
these ward by-elections have shown again the abilities that the ruling and opposition political parties have in conducting peaceful campaigns bereft of political violence.
“As voting progresses, we urge all the electorates in the wards to turnout enmasse and exercise their right to vote. We appeal to all political parties to ensure that the peace that was witnessed during the campaign period is maintained during the voting and the post-election period” he said.
Mr Chembe has further wished the people of the 3 wards all the best as they exercise their right of choice on who is best to represent them.