Thursday, 25 September 2014

ECZ Runs Out Of Money For Continuous Voters Registration

Priscilla Isaac
By Paul Shalala

The Electoral commission of Zambia (ECZ) has disclosed that it is unable to conduct the continuous voter registration this year due to lack of funding.

ECZ Director Priscilla Isaac says the unending by-elections the country has witnessed this year have contributed to the loss of funds for voter education.

"This year we are unable to continue conducting the continuous voter registration exercise mainly due to lack of funds," said Isaac in an interview.

According to the Electoral Act, the ECZ is supposed to conduct voter registration through out the year.

The law however provides that the electoral body must halt the exercise in an event of parliamentary or local government by-elections.

Hakainde Hichilema
Meanwhile, Ms Isaac has disclosed that the commission will next year conduct a massive voter registration exercise ahead of the 2016 General Elections.

"For 2015, we are expected to conduct voter registration for the 2016 General Elections. This will be after we get funding from the National Budget," she said.

This year, the Electoral Commission of Zambia has conducted dozens of local government by-elections and several parliamentary by-elections which include Katuba, Kasenengwa, Mkushi South, Solwezi Central, Vubwi and Zambezi West.

Elias Chipimo Jr.
Currently, the ECZ is using the 2011 voters register which has 5, 167, 154 registered voters.

Opposition political parties have reacted angrily to this revelation.

"This shows how PF lacks priorities. If indeed government had priorities, continuous voters registration would have been well funded and supported," said Hakainde Hichilema, UPND President.

The failure by the ECZ to conduct continuous voter education is worrying because young people who have reached voting age will be defranchised," said Elias Chipimo Jr, NAREP President.

But ZADECO President Langton Sichome seems to have a solution to the problem.

"Let government come up with a supplementary which parliament can approve to allow the ECZ to conduct voter registration," said Sichone.

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