The United Party for National Development (UPND) in Kasenengwa district has appealed to the government to consider reopening primary and secondary schools earlier than 12th August 2021.
UPND District Chairperson, Wickson Lungu stated that this is in order to allow learners who are eligible to vote in the forthcoming general elections, to do so from polling districts where they registered from.
Mr. Lungu however observed that opening schools after August 12th would disenfranchise a lot of pupils who are registered, voters.
He pointed out that the voter registration was done during the school learning period, which saw most pupils in boarding schools register as voters with polling stations nearer to their learning institutions.
He said it is for this reason that schools should be opened before the poll date, in order to give such students an opportunity to exercise their voting rights.
“We want to appeal to the government through the Ministry of General Education to consider adjusting the reopening date for primary and secondary schools. This is in order to allow pupils who registered near their learning facilities to exercise their rights,” he said.
Mr. Lungu advised the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to expect low voter turnout in most polling stations, especially those near boarding schools if the date of reopening is not changed.
“We might even experience some voter apathy in some polling stations if the decision is not revisited,” he added.
He said every voter should be given an opportunity to vote for leaders of their choice as it is their democratic right, hence the decision to reopen schools on August 16, should be revisited
The government announced that the schools will remain closed till August 16th when they are expected to reopen, while tertiary learning institutions will remain closed and only offer online tutorials.