Thursday, February 29, 2024

CiSCA Accuse ECZ of Lopsided Voter Registration Blatantly Skewed to Advantage Certain Regions

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By Judith Mulenga CiSCA Acting Chairperson

The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) would like to refresh the memory of the Electoral Commission of Zambia that universal suffrage and the right to vote is not only a human right but is also guaranteed in our Constitution. Consequently, the management of the electoral process, including voter registration as per article 229 subsection 2 of our constitution, is not a charitable undertaking for ECZ to be making arbitrary decisions with impunity. Article 46 of our Constitution assures every Zambian citizen who has attained the age of 18 years the right to register as a voter. Our Bill of Rights within the purview of articles 20 and 21, warrants freedoms of association and expressions and voting for a preferred political party or candidate.

Additionally, Zambia is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), having ratified it in 1984. Article 25 of the covenant provides for every citizen the right and the opportunity, without unreasonable restrictions, or distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status of any differentiation to vote.

The Human Rights Committee that supervises governments’ implementation of the ICCPR reiterates that where there is need for voter registration, it should be done without imposing obstacles. As CiSCA, we submit that the lopsided registration blatantly skewed to advantage certain regions, not only flies in the face of both the human rights standards and our constitutional guarantees but is a subversion of the ECZ’s mandate. It is a very clear hallmark of inefficiency and ineffectiveness.

Notwithstanding the human rights and constitutional guarantees on the right to vote, the potential volatility of the upcoming 2021 elections is not lost on anyone in the nation and we suspect least of all on the ECZ, therefore, the tenets of transparency should not be glossed over. This calls for a serious commitment to openness, communication and accountability on the part of ECZ. Failure to do so reduces the credibility of the elections and consequently the results and the legitimacy of whoever takes power.

We demand that the allegations of the deliberate registration of more voters in PF strongholds by allocating more personnel for registration compared to perceived opposition strongholds should be thoroughly investigated and put to rest. Allegations of children being issued with NRCs and voters’ cards should also be investigated. The insistence on discarding of the 2016 existing voters roll with higher registered figures compared to the current lower registered figures should be resolved short of which we will assume that ECZ is compromised and bent on disenfranchising millions of Zambians. The ECZ set 9 million as the target number to be registered and we believe there was a rationale for that number, therefore, the focus is to attain 9 million registered voters so logically the registration period should be attached to the attainment of the target number. It is also not enough to just mention the total figures captured but we need disaggregated numbers by province in comparison to the population in each province so we assess the credibility of the new voters’ roll.

We also demand that ECZ explain the number of registration centers, registration officers per district or province and the basis on which number of registration centers per district/province is made. We are greatly concerned that in some cases, the low allocation of personnel has slowed down the registration. The failure by the ECZ to address this would give credence to allegations or suspicions that they are colluding with some parties to disenfranchise some voters.

There is no excuse for the ECZ Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer who all come from sectors that stand for legal and social justice and respect for human rights to aid or champion an agenda that clearly violates fundamental human rights. Time is running out, but it is not too late for the ECZ to correct this situation, if they really want to.

16 COMMENTS

  1. From media reports the challenges that have been experienced so far have been from all regions across the country. I was distressed to hear that in Mungwi there were areas that hadn’t conducted any registration because the machines had broken down. As an NGO that speaks with such authority, and for the sake of transparency, I urge Judith Mulenga to be brave enough and mention which region the current voter registration is skewed to advantage. If she doesn’t I will report her to Mwami 1 for issuing a baseless alarmist statement. We must all guard jealous this institution because if we allow it to be destroyed we won’t have a country. And it’s such statements and the one from NDC that can cause anarchy. ECZ needs our support. PLEASE LET’S NOT DESTROY ECZ

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  2. They have started crying again because they can see defeat. It is now getting boring. Every five years the same thing.

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  3. If this voter registration is indeed skewed to certain regions (and from the look of things it very likely is) then the concerned opposition parties and NGO’s should get their evidence together and seek a way forward. For instance, are there options to judicial intervention? It doesn’t help to keep on rehearsing the complaints and hoping that ECL or the moribund ECZ will grow a conscience overnight and voluntarily do they right thing. They won’t! Also, to assume that it doesn’t matter because the will of people will override evil shenanigans is to be way too presumptuous. Do something now – or cry later!

  4. This war mongering, why can’t you sermon them through court so that we all get to Know this accurately, than throwing a blanket statement. This will make any losing party not to accept results. Have this registered by the Constitution Court.

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  5. After the massive failure whereby they have brought the economy to its knees desperation may force them to do anything like the case of NRCs.

  6. This UPND vuvuzela NGO for disgraced bishop Maambo has started preparing upnd stooges to refuse the 2021 results. Southern province hard second highest numbers of machines, you didn’t condemn and now they have registered everyone in southern province but numbers don’t seem to match PF strongholds you have started crying! Mulibantu babwanji kansi imwe? You are all the same like watchdog, you specialise in alarming your followers and they equally don’t reason immediately they read this fake unsubstantiated allegation, they will start jumping like beaten …..!

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  7. The urgent action is to take ECZ to court to compel ECZ to release number of registered voters by province, district and even down to polling centre levels. It is not acceptable that ECZ just releases block figures. Once number of registered voters is known by province, district, constituency and polling center levels, then ECZ has to account for any clear discrimination in the number of registered voters at provincial, district, constituency and polling centre levels. Court should be engaged to compel ECZ to provide voter registration numbers by province, district, constituency and polling centres. Citizens should not allow ECZ to hide information needed by all key stakeholders in the upcoming 2021 elections. This court action should be urgently undertaken.

  8. kikikikikikikikiki@@@@@@@ this ka NGO kikkikikikiikk what are you trying to tell us? There is no stronghold in Zambia for any party. Just go and campaign where there are more registered voters. Why are are you starting to cry ..kikikikik8ikik

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  9. I don’t think I understand u Ayatollah. Why should machines be breaking dwn whn they’re new? Who supplied the machines? An alert and fairminded commentator would want to know. Did they the ECZ procure machines from a respectable name in this business and with a proven track record?

  10. So YALI beat you to your game when they exposed the manipulation tactic of those chaps at ECZ. And now you busy trailing behind raising same alarm. UPND is just in trouble. No more ghost voters from Southern Province kkkkkkk

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  11. So YALI beat you to your game when they exposed the manipulation tactic of those chaps at ECZ. And now you busy trailing behind raising same alarm. UPND is just in trouble. No more ghost voters from Southern Province kkkkkkkkkkk

  12. Pwaaaaaah, chimbwi no plan ba UPND and tuma Ngos, u laughed at yali and now reality is catching up fair play is not helping UPND, ask ka Kasonde Linda to go to court lol

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