By Guess Nyirenda (Mr.) Executive Director
Operation Young Vote (OYV) is not only appalled and dismayed but also very concerned and displeased at the stance the Ministry of Home Affairs has taken to stop members of the public either individually or collectively in groups or organization from monitoring the implementation of the 2020 Mobile issuance of the National Registration Cards (NRCs) by the Government.
As OYV we find the pronouncement and threats misplaced in that the exercise is not an ordinary undertaking but an extraordinary one whose many purpose is related to the forth coming voter registration exercise by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and the 2021 National Elections. This sudden apprehension by Government on citizens monitoring on how a service is being provided to members of the general public leaves a lot to be desired. This is very unusual especially that this is not the first time Zambia is conducting the Mobile Issuance of NRCs in relation to the electoral process.
The skepticism perception Government is trying to employ to the point of seemingly being scared of its own shadow must not be allowed anywhere near the process as it is a recipe for mistrust and loss of confidence by the citizens in such undertakings of paramount significance in the nation.
OYV is of the conviction that Zambia having ratified and being a state party to many sub-regional, regional, and international protocols and conventions that espouse transparency and accountability, robust and comprehensive citizens and stakeholders’ participation coupled with the aspirations of national plans such as the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP) and other policies of leaving NO ONE behind, its failure to understand and appreciate the goal and objectives of the exercise at hand specifically and the mandate of the Ministry generally.
OYV would therefore like to challenge Government in general and the Ministry of Home Affairs particularly to own up and walk the path of transparency and accountability by allowing members of the general public and Civil Society Organisations to monitor the Mobile NRC Issuance implementation if indeed this exercise is to yield fruits that favour Zambia and Zambians.
For and on Behalf of Operation Young Vote (OYV)