Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tell nation how you will clean up voters’ roll, Lubinda tells ECZ

Tell nation how you will clean up voters’ roll, Lubinda tells ECZ
By Moses Kuwema and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Thu 08 July 2010, 01:01 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda has called on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to explain to the nation how they intend to clean up the voters roll before the 2011 general elections. In an interview, Lubinda said there was much more that the ECZ needs to do if next year’s elections are to be free and fair.

“ECZ should ensure that all the glaring areas are clarified because the credibility of an election lies in the events leading to and the announcements of results, how is ECZ cleaning up the voters roll? People who have moved to other centres, how will ECZ capture these people? For those that have moved to other areas, what is happening to their voter’s card? If ECZ is getting them what assurance is there that they won’t be manipulated? And if ECZ is not getting them what assurance is there again that they won’t be manipulated? Lubinda asked.

He said there was need for the ECZ to come out clean on these matters.

And Lubinda has said it is the duty of the government through the ECZ to encourage people to register as voters and not political parties.

“The Rupiah Banda government has heard the complaints from the ECZ about lack of money, so can we please give them money for them to sensitise people to vote…it is not the duty of political parties to sensitise people to register,” he said.

Lubinda said government should release sufficient resources in order for the ECZ to carry out its duty.

“It is a pity for the ECZ to be complaining that officers from ZANIS Zambia National Information Service are not sensitising people because they want allowances, but these are the same people who are running around following Rupiah Banda, so let government release enough money to sensitise our people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lubinda has said it is unacceptable for police officers to be taking photos of people who want to obtain National Registration Cards (NRCs).

Reacting to a front page picture which appeared in The Post on Saturday, where a police officer was photographing youths who went to obtain NRCs at Kalundu Basic School in Lusaka, Lubinda said the practice has to be stopped.

“It is totally unacceptable and it has to be stopped because we can’t have a referee in soccer to be a goal keeper, police have a different function clarifying that indeed this person lost their NRC,” he said.

He said there was no justification for the Ministry of Home aAffairs to use police officers to take photos for the NRCs.

And Chipata district has registered 1,847 voters in the ongoing voter
registration exercise.

District electoral officer Golden Banda who is also Chipata town clerk said the people have been registered from the time the registration exercise commenced on June 21st.

Banda said 1,367 were new voters while 480 were those who replaced
their voters cards and other details.

He said there were more people that have registered in rural areas
like Kasenengwa, Chipangali and Luangeni than urban places like in
Chipata central.

Banda said the exercise that started on a low note was not picking up.

“I think there is an improvement from the time we started and this is
because of publicity,” he said.

Eastern Province UPND chairperson Paul Thole said the current voter registration has received low publicity.

He said a lot of stakeholders were supposed to be involved in the
sensitization programme.

“Unless you involve the stakeholders and the local radio stations, above all even the traditional ceremonies which we normally have if these also can be used to publicize the voter registration to capture a lot more people,” Thole said.

He said government should be able to listen to people’s advice on the
voter registration.

Nyimba’s Ngozi ward UPND councilor Paul Daka said some rural people were not aware of the voters registration exercise.

Daka who is the only UPND councillor in Nyimba said the voter registration needs a lot of publicity especially in rural areas.

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