CHAPTER One Foundation has petitioned the Constitutional Court, seeking an order that the State should implement the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards throughout the country.
The petitioners also want the court to order the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to carry out continuous voter registration between elections.
Chapter One Foundation, in its petition filed in court, has alleged that the ECZ has breached the Constitution by
restricting voter registration for the 2021 elections to only 30 days.
Chapter One Foundation through its chairperson Fr Cleophas Lungu has cited Attorney General Likando Kalaluka and ECZ.
This petition follows an announcement by the chief electoral officer at a press briefing held on June 12, this year, that the period for the voter registration had been reduced to 30 days.
According to the petition, Chapter One, a non-governmental organisation, has argued that Government violated the Constitution by implementing the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRC) in a manner that contravenes the Constitution.
The petitioner relied on Article 128 (1) (b) of the Constitution of Zambia and alleged that the actions taken by government and ECZ are a violation of the Constitution and therefore the court has jurisdiction to determine the petition.
It also relied on Article 128 (3) (b) of the Constitution and alleges that the decision made in the exercise of the legislative mandate to register citizens and register voters is unconstitutional.
Chapter One Foundation has further argued that the Government has been implementing the issuance of NRCs to citizens pursuant to the National Registration Act Chapter 126 of the Laws of Zambia.
It stated that the registration of citizens in accordance with the National Registration Act Chapter 126 of the Laws of Zambia has been accelerated by the policy of mobile registration in various parts of the country.
The petitioner however, allege that government whether willingly or unwillingly has not rolled the mobile registration in all parts of the country and further that the registration services are not uniformly available to all citizens.
The NGO argued that following the 2016 Constitutional amendment, he electoral process act was amended to provide for continuous voter registration to be carried out by ECZ.
The petitioner argued that by taking actions not provided for in the Constitution, ECZ has willfully or in ignorance of the law acted outside perimeters of Constitutional limits.
“The respondents in undertaking national registration and deciding to undertake voter registration have neglected to apply the principles that apply to the system of elections in Zambia which principles are mandatory,” further read the petition.
Credit: Daily Star Zambia