Chief Sokontwe of the Ushi speaking people in Milenge district has called on village heads to take an active role in mobilizing the community to register as voters.
This was noted when some Voter Education Facilitators (VEFs) complained about some village heads not helping them mobilize the community.
Speaking in an interview with ZANIS, Chief Sokontwe said it was unfortunate that some village heads were not assisting the VEFs in their dispensation of duties.
Chief Sokontwe, however, stated that he will meet the traditional leaders and urge them to take part in this important national exercise.
“Village headpersons have influence on their communities hence it is important that they participate and encourage residents to get voter’s cards. I will call for a meeting and talk to them,” he said.
Meanwhile, Milenge District Electoral Officer (DEO) Dewin Kaoma said the response from the community is impressive so far.
Mr. Kaoma, who is also Milenge Town Council Secretary, said each registration center is registering up to 100 people per day.
“The turnout is good. We anticipate the number of registered voters in the district to rise since more youths recently got their National Registration Cards and are turning up to register as voters,” he said.
And speaking during the District Voter Education Committee (DVEC) meeting which was held in the Milenge Council Hall today, DVEC Chairperson Kennedy Kashinga implored the members to continue to sensitizing the community on voter registration.
And Chief Chipalo of the Bemba speaking people in Luwingu district has called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to intensify sensitization on the on-going voter registration exercise.
The traditional leader said a number of people especially in his area are not aware that ECZ is currently conducting voter registration exercise.
Chief Chipalo was speaking when Northern Province Minister Bwalya Chungu paid a courtesy call on him at his palace in Luwingu.
He attributed the public’s lack of knowledge on the process to the challenges that voter education facilitators are facing in reaching far flung areas due to poor road networks.
“The people who are doing announcements are unable to reach out to every village due to some challenges of road network and some people who were employed do not necessarily know the geography of this area,” said the Chief.
He has since advised ECZ to consider using the public address system from the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) so that they reach out to all parts of the district with publicity.
Chief Chipalo further appealed to ECZ to consider increasing the number of registration officers at the centres.
“The pace at which this exercise is moving is worrying because it is taking a lot of time for officers to attend to one person, so there is a need to send at least two more officers to be helping each other,” said the traditional leader.
And Bwalya expressed concern at the kit some centres are using to capture the finger prints during the registration exercise.
Mr Bwalya was also not pleased with the situation at Chiwelwa Registration Centre where only eight people had registered and the centre was closed as the kit had developed a fault.
“ECZ should find ways and means of recovering this lost time which has gone without people registering because they have only given one area seven days and the machine has developed a fault,” he said.
The provincial minister has since directed the District Electoral Officers in Luwingu and Lupososhi districts to write a report to ECZ indicating all the challenges they are facing during the ongoing registration exercise.
Mr Bwalya who is also Lupososhi Member of Parliament encouraged the people of Luwingu and Lupososhi districts to register in numbers for them to have an opportunity of choosing their preferred leaders in the 2021 general elections.
He encouraged all the people who are above 18 years and holders of National Registration Cards to register as voters during the ongoing exercise.
“Let every person who is 18 years and above and is a holder of the National Registration Cards register as a voter, it is your right as Zambians,” he advised.