Contact: Charles Kakoma,
We have learnt with disbelief the announcement by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) that it has increased the period of voter registration by 4 days.
The UPND finds this as a mockery and a dark day for Zambia’s democracy and the electoral process.
For the Commission to state that it has so far captured 6.4 million voters is difficult to believe because the pace at which the first phase was conducted left much to be desired.
If it took one month to register 6.4 million voters out of 9 million, how can ECZ manage to register the remainder of 2.6 million voters in 4 days?
From broken down machines; slow or lack of internet connectivity to lack of manpower, it beats both scientific formulae and logic that the ECZ has been able to hit such figures.
Indeed, we can now safely assert that there is an invisible hand that is pulling the strings behind the curtains in favour of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) through unorthodox methods including issuing voters’ cards to foreigners and under age children.
This is laughable as the Commission’s projections do not add up in any logical way.
This is also an indication that the ECZ has been, under the tutelage and instigation of the PF by issuing voters cards to underage children and foreign nationals.
What formula does the ECZ intend to use in order to capture the remainder of the targeted 9 million voters since most eligible voters have continued to be disenfranchised owing to the Commission’s incompetence and partisan stance?
We wish to appeal to the ECZ to stop playing games with Zambians and ensure that it conducts the exercise in line with the Electoral Processes Act of 2016 which allows the Commission to conduct an on-going voter registration exercise.
Also, the decision by the ECZ to conduct the exercise in correctional facilities which has resulted in 11, 000 inmates being registered as voters without either consensus from stakeholders or a legal framework is a desperate ploy by ECZ to try and aid the PF to remain in power beyond 2021.
If the ECZ remains adamant and refuse to conduct an ongoing voter registration exercise, the people of Zambia will hold them accountable for any damage that would be done to this country and her people.
(C) UPND MEDIA TEAM
Lusaka – 12/12/20
Leader of the opposition and Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu has questioned the moral and legal reasoning behind the issuance of national registration cards and voters cards to prisoners on death roll at the time when most eligible Zambians have been disfranchised.
And UPND parliamentary whip Situmbeko Musokotwane has appealed to traditional leaders in especially Western province to search their conscience and state whether they are satisfied with the ended issuance of NRCs as well as the voter registration exercise.
Addressing the media this morning, Mr Mwiimbu said the UPND is extremely shocked and disappointed at the decision by the Ministry of Home affairs as well as the ECZ to start registering prisoners some of whom are on the death roll.
He said a number of eligible Zambians especially in Western, Southern, North Western and parts of Central provinces were left out of the NRC exercise and are likely to be left out in the voters card acquisition with government opting to instead give prisoners the documents meant for Zambians with full liberties and freedoms under the laws of Zambia.
He has since demanded for the immediate extension of the voting registration period so as to capture all eligible Zambians by 2015.
(C) UPND MEDIA TEAM
United Party for National Development (UPND) has demanded for the immediate resignation of Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson, Essau Chulu and his team at the Commission.
UPND Chairman Mutale Nalumango told the press that the demand for Judge Essau Chulu and his team at ECZ to step down had been necessitated by the electoral body’s failure to provide fair administration of the elections among other concerns.
She said the ECZ’s failure to provide segregated numbers of registered voters and the planned closure of the voter registration exercise tomorrow, which she said would disenfranchise millions of eligible citizens especially in perceived UPND strongholds was reason enough for the ECZ leadership to step down.
“We demand that Justice Essau Chulu and Patrick Nshindano together with their team resign from the ECZ as their actions have the potential to plunge the country into chaos. We also demand for the registration period to be extended until the targeted number of voters is captured and also that the ECZ provide segregated numbers of registered voters,” she demanded.
Mrs Nalumango also demanded for an end to the alleged registration of foreigners and underage children, warning that failure to do so would attract a serious backlash from the general public.
She also demanded for the immediate end to the registration of inmates citing a lack of legal framework that supports the registration of prisoners.
“We also demand that the ECZ stop registering foreigners. ECZ should also give those areas with faulty registration equipment more days and, also, immediately stop the registration of inmates until a legal framework is provided. Failure to do so will receive a serious backlash,” she warned.
The voter registration exercise, set to come to end tomorrow has seen a number of stakeholders calling for the extension of the exercise.
UPND MEDIA TEAM
PRESS STATEMENT – UPND SA
The Electoral Commission of Zambia must do everything possible to ensure that all eligible voters in the country get their National registration cards as well as their voters cards and are all registered to vote if the upcoming 2021 elections are to pass a minimum basic standard of being credible. It is just one day to go before the official close of the current registration period but endless lines of people wanting to register are still a common scene everywhere in all the provinces in the country. People are still standing up in lines up to 12 hours even today to try and get the voters card. The lines are still endless and very long.
ECZ machines have purportedly been continuously broken down for weeks in most polling districts perceived to be opposition strongholds and citizens for weeks have not been able to get registered thereby denying them their basic right.
Our assessment has revealed that the ECZ staff in most places perceived to be opposition areas like Western province and Mongu in particular were only able to work for a maximum total of 9 days during the whole month long registration period managing to only register a dismal number of people to vote . This is clearly electoral fraud and malpractice already by ECZ and a recipe for anarchy in the country and as such we call on the government and ECZ to extend the period of registration without fail till the current parliament is dissolved. Registration of voters should be a continuous exercise in a civilised society that cherishes democracy.
The right to vote is a human rights issue and ECZ can not be seen to be in the forefront to disfranchise citizens of their enshrined constitutional right to vote.
We want to retaliate that the ECZ must comply with the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and it’s Principles governing elections both of which place emphasis on the credibility of electoral infrastructure, including voters rolls.
ECZ must also abide by the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights , which guarantees the right to vote for all qualifying citizens, among other international instruments.
Therefore, ECZ has no choice but to extend the current registration period till parliament is dissolved in order to ensure all citizens exercise their democratic right to participate in these elections.
ECZ should not disfranchise the citizens of Zambia but instead uphold the rights of citizens.
UPND SA Chapter Chairman
UPND SA Press Office.
Calls for the on-going voter registration exercise period to be extended have grown louder as the United Party for National Development (UPND) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) youths have continued to pile pressure on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to consider increasing the number of days once the exercise comes to an end this Saturday.
At a joint press briefing between the Lusaka Province UPND and NDC this morning, the youth leadership from the two parties renewed their vigorous efforts to push the ECZ to increase the number of days so that no eligible Zambian is left out in the exercise.
“We are not going to fold our hands and pretend that all is well. If we see that most of our youths are disadvantaged by not acquiring the voters’ cards, we are going to take to the streets with or without a police permit or we are going to take them to court and ensure that all Zambians are issued with voters’ cards so that they can vote in the forthcoming general elections so that they are able to take part in the selection of their leaders,” he warned.
Mr Banda observed that the registration exercise was supposed to be a continuous exercise where enshrined in the Republican Constitution.
“The ECZ should not disenfranchise us-they have no right to do that. It is supposed to be a continuous process…if you feel like acquiring a voters’ card, you are supposed to be issued with one,” observed Mr Banda.
And Anderson Banda, stated that the youths would not fold their hands and watch the ECZ disenfranchise eligible voters from registering, said that the youths would ensure that they exhaust all legal avenues including taking to the streets and instituting legal proceedings against the elections body in order to pressure the ECZ to extend the registration exercise.
Meanwhile, efforts to petition the ECZ to increase the number of the voter registration exercise failed to yield results as a UPND delegation comprising of the party’s National Management Committee (NMC) found the ECZ led by Mutale Nalumango found the elections office deserted this afternoon.
*UPND MEDIA TEAM
…says that would lead to the avoidance of electing a minority President.
The United Party for National Development-UPND-has urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia-ECZ-to consider increasing the allocated number of days for the on-going voter registration exercise from the current 46 days to 90 days.
In a short interview, UPND Lusaka Province Youth Chairperson, Anderson Banda accused the ECZ Electoral Officer, Patrick Nshindano of failing to listen to the numerous concerns that have been raised by various stakeholders and the general citizenry.
He noted that it would only be prudent that the ECZ heeds to the mounting general calls from the public and quickly extend the voter registration period as the exercise has been marred with numerous lapses.
He stated that the ECZ had continued to exhibit high levels of arrogance by insisting that they would not extend the voter registration period.
“It is in the interest of the Zambian people that the ECZ considers increasing the number of days for the exercise. As we all have seen, the process has been very slow; the Commission is understaffed and most of the machines have broken down. Therefore we demand that the duration for the exercise be extended. It’s a demand!” charged Mr Banda.
He has since appealed to the ECZ to ensure that a popular president wins and avoid the 2016 scenario where Mr Edgar Lungu emerged victorious with a small margin of less than 13,000 votes.
“The ECZ must remove personal interest in the process by getting to the round table with stakeholders. If they don’t do that, they will disadvantage the people who are eligible to vote which will lead to ushering into office a minority president, ” said Banda.
UPND MEDIA TEAM
By Charles Kakoma, UPND Spokesman.
Many people are disappointed and upset with the current voters registration exercise. After visiting many registration centres, I met a lot of people who were angry with the way the voters registration exercise was being conducted.
A lot of people had spent long hours on the queues to get a voter’s card. Others had been queueing as early as 03.00 hours but had not been served by 18.00 hours. The slow pace at which the voters registration exercise is being conducted is just irritating. But what caused this mess?
A review of the voters registration programme indicates that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) planned to conduct the voters registration exercise a long time ago. They sat down and decided to do away with the old register and introduce a new register incorporating a biometric system. They planned to capture 9 million voters in 30 days. In their meeting, they planned to employ staff, purchase biometric machines, computers, printers, laminating machines, ink, gensets and other materials to enable them achieve their target of registering 9 million voters. So, what has gone wrong?
From the outset when the ECZ announced the programme to register 9 million voters in 30 days, many stakeholders raised concerns or rejected the plan. It was seen as unrealistic and at worst suspected to be a scheme to rig the 2021 presidential and general elections.
The stakeholders argued that there was no need to do away with the old register. What was needed was to update the register to include first time voters who had just obtained their green National Registration Cards and delete dead people from the register. The ECZ refused with arrogance to listen to the stakeholders and proceeded with the exercise to register 9 million voters in 30 days.
We are now told that since the exercise started two weeks ago, only 1 million people have been registered out of the targeted 9 million voters. At this pace, only about 2 million voters will be registered at the end of one month.
But where did the ECZ, a government institution, get the strength and arrogance to push for a new voters register ? The reasonable suspicion is that they were being backed by powerful forces in the ruling party and the government. But what was the interest of these powerful forces to push for a new register?
A review of information which is already in public domain suggests that the ruling party was scared of losing the 2021 elections if the current voters in the register are allowed to vote . The scheme was therefore to disfranchise some voters in the perceived opposition strongholds in order to reduce presidential votes for the opposition candidate(s).
This scheme appeared to be well coordinated with the issuance of national registration cards , which was also chaotic and aimed at denying people in opposition strongholds to obtain National Registration Cards. Without national registration cards, the opposition supporters will not be able to obtain voters cards. To date, many people in opposition strongholds have not been able to obtain national registration cards because either the registration officers did not reach these areas or the materials ran out. Meanwhile, the registration officers managed to reach and register people in far flung areas in the so called ruling party strongholds in order to have an in-built majority in the voting system. It is also suspected that some foreigners and under age people were given multiple National registration cards in order to obtain many voters cards to enable them vote many times.
The scheme and organised confusion in the national registration cards exercise is being replicated in the voters registration exercise.
The slow pace at which the voters registration exercise is being conducted is deliberate and was planned. It was planned because the ECZ, working with government, knew how many polling stations the country had and should have bought enough biometric equipment, laminating machines, computers, gensets , ink and other materials to undertake the exercise. But they bought inadequate equipment and materials deliberately. They also provided inadequate staff to man the exercise. Instead of four or five registration officers manning the centre, only one officer in many cases is running the show. What was the motive?
Despite the ECZ knowing how many polling stations the country had, they planned to conduct the exercise only in selected polling stations they placed in phase one to be done in 7 days only instead of the 30 days they had announced. The other polling stations were left out to be considered in other phases. Strictly speaking, the voters registration exercise is not being conducted in each polling station. This has created problems for the voters especially in rural areas where polling stations are several kilometres apart. Some people have to walk the whole day to the nearest voters registration centre. In many cases, they discover that the registration centre is closed because it is placed in another phase of the registration exercise. Due to poor publicity by the ECZ, most voters do not know which designated registration centre is open. Even the location of the registration centre is a challenge as not every polling station is a registration centre.
The slow pace of the voters registration exercise is creating challenges for the working class, marketeers, students , peasant farmers and many people who work with time and deadlines. For workers, they are finding it difficult to get permission from employers nearly every day to go and register as a voter because they failed to be attended to by registration officers the previous day . For marketeers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, small shop owners and street vendors, time is money. They cannot spend the whole day or many days queueing up to get a voters card . How will they feed their children after losing the day’s income?
For peasant farmers, the rains have come and are finding it difficult to miss days in the field to get a voters card .
For students, most of them turned up to get voters cards outside the schooling hours at the weekend. If they miss getting the voters cards at the weekend, what time do they have during the working days to get voters cards?
It is really mind boggling that the ECZ could plan to conduct the voters registration exercise and purchase malfunctioning machines to undertake the exercise without testing them. Who authorised the purchase of these faulty machines? Why were the machines not tested before being deployed in the field?
I received a call from Zambezi District in the North Western Province that the ECZ had run out of ink after only registering 35 voters on the first day of the exercise. How did the ECZ dispatch officers from Lusaka to Zambezi, a distance of 1,200 kilometres which is almost the same distance from Lusaka to Johannesburg, with ink to last one day when they knew that the officers will be out for 30 days? The situation where ink and other materials are running out is not peculiar to Zambezi. It is widespread. How and why?
We have also received reports of the exercise being disrupted by Zesco load shedding despite ECZ buying gensets. Is it true that the gensets procured by ECZ were faulty?
In order to mitigate the slow pace of the exercise, the ECZ decided to extend the registration time into the night. These are desperate measures. The ideal situation was to extend the period of registration for people to register properly during day time. During the night, a lot of things happen. People living in the compounds are finding it difficult to book taxis due to lack of public transport in the night. Security is also a problem in the night. In any case, if it is already a problem to monitor the voters registration exercise during the day, what about during the night?
The voters registration exercise was a grand scheme designed to assist the ruling party to win the 2021 election. Although the planning appeared to fit in the scheme of things, the implementation has boomeranged. Like many other evil schemes we have witnessed in Zambia, the chaotic voters registration exercise will fail to achieve its intended objectives. We saw the ruling party pushing very hard for the Constitutional ( Amendment) Bill 10. It flopped in Parliament. We witnessed the gassing of citizens which some evil people wanted to implicate the UPND in order to arrest its leaders. The gassing scheme withered away without any arrests of the gassers and without any explanation from the government. We saw the setting ablaze of markets to try to implicate the UPND and its leaders. The matter has been hashed up with no explanation from government.
Similarly, we are seeing the chaotic voters registration exercise being implemented in order to disadvantage the opposition. We are praying very hard that the evil plan “goes back to the sender”.
We would like to appeal to all well meaning Zambians to die a little and obtain a voters registration card. For all the sweating under the hot weather, for all the hunger and thirst experienced in long queues at registration centres and for all the inconvenience caused to the voters , someone has to be taught a lesson for taking the people for granted.
For all the poverty the PF government has subjected Zambians to; for all the corruption and plunder of the country’s resources; for all the unemployment the young people are subjected to; for all the deaths Zambians are experiencing due to poor health services; for all the poor education polices resulting in children not going to school and for all the hunger arising from failure by people to put food on the table, the PF must go. Njala yatupaya.
Join the 2021 winning team. Every citizen has been appointed as a UPND campaign manager. Bally 2021 is coming.
Recent accusations made by leader of the Forum For Democracy FDD Edith Nawakwi that Hakainde Hichilema benefited from the sale of state companies cannot pass without comment. The outbursts of Nawakwi who was hosted on hot FM radio discussion exposed herself as a liar and a hater of HH for political reasons. Nawakwi was a cabinet minister of Finance for that matter and she was part of the collective decisions and agreements of government on the sale of state asserts by the MMD government. She knows the procedures of the processes and who handled the money and the account all the money was deposited. Several players were involved in the process of PRIVATIZATION and singling out one person, Hakainde Hichilema is very unfortunate and malicious.
What are the reasons that madam Nawakwi has brought up this issue of PRIVATIZATION after 30 years. Has she been building up cases against HH all these years? HH has plainly exhonarated himself and challenged them to report him to the police but none of them has done that. The Patriotic Front and their parasites like Edith Nawakwi keep on accusing HH, even going to the extent of knowing to know where HH got his wealth from, this is Nonses’. Bringing up the issue of PRIVATIZATION this time is like exhuming the bones of Noah and the fossil of the Ark. HH has proved to be a thorn in their flesh, he is a political heavyweight. Madam Nawakwi should not waist our time and use this defunct issue of PRIVATIZATION as a memorial service of her dead political popularity.
By Samuel Kambangu
LUSAKA – 28/08/20
The UPND has applied for leave to commence Judicial Review proceedings against the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the Attorney General on the commission’s illegal decisions such as electronic registration of voters, effecting of a new voters register and the thirty days voter registration period.
The basis of the UPND claim is that aside from being illegal, the ECZ’s actions are unreasonable and will result in the disenfranchisement of voters.
The UPND has assembled a formidable legal team comprising Hon Jack Mwiimbu of Muleza Mwiimbu and Co, Mulambo Haimbe of Malambo and Co, Milner Katolo of Milner and Paul Advocates, Marshal Muchende of M Associates and Christopher Mundia of CL Mundia and Company.
(C) UPND MEDIA TEAM