The Continuous Voter Registration exercise in Solwezi District has taken a twist as people are allegedly obtaining voter’s cards in order to access farming inputs.
This after a named civic leader allegedly stated that only those with voter’s cards will access farming inputs for the 2022/2023 farming season.
At the Registration Center at Solwezi Municipal Council, long queues where found and waiting to get the voters cards.
However, Solwezi Mayor Remmy Kalepa has appealed to members of the public to ignore the falsehoods as a voter’s card is not a requirement for someone to access farming inputs.
“A voter’s card will not qualify someone as a beneficiary of government Farming Input support (FISP)…what makes them qualify is them being just Zambians that is it and them having a green NRC regardless of political affiliation,” he said.
Mr. Kalepa said the government is conducting the continuous voter registration to ensure that people don’t panic getting voter’s cards in times of elections.
And at the registration center, some prospective voters appealed to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to consider decentralizing the continuous voter registration exercise.
Yotam Ernest from Mushindamo district lamented that he had to spend K300 on transport to Solwezi and back.
” It is very expensive for us from the rural areas…imagine I have to pay K150 coming and the other K150 going back plus meals here…we are appealing to the government to change this…why can’t they follow us in our respective villages in schools… we have schools where this could be done” he said.
In response, Solwezi Town Clerk Kabombo Mutakela said Solwezi is the only gazetted voter registration centre for North-western province.
Mr Mutakela , who is also District Electoral Officer , said people from other districts in the province can only register from Solwezi.
” As you know the electoral process is governed by laws, and for any centre to operate as a voter registration centre it has to be gazetted and in Northwestern Province only Solwezi District is gazetted and not any other place,” he said.
Mr. Mutakela however, said what the municipal council can do to help the community is just to increase operation hours from 17:00 to 18:00 hours.