By Agness Changala
Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano has disclosed that after December 12, the system on the voter registration kits will automatically close and no one will be able to register as a voter.
And Nshindano has announced that a total number of 2,704, 426 have registered to vote in the first and second phase which ended on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the chief electoral officer says the commission has addressed the challenges stakeholders and members of the public encountered in the first phase and part of the second phase of the voter registration.
Giving an update on the 2020 voter registration exercise at a press briefing today, Nshindano apologized for the inconvenience experienced yesterday in selected centres across the country due to automatic log out feature on the kits.
He said some of their officers were unable to log into the system hence delaying the commencement time.
Nshindano explained that what occurred was a security feature embedded in the kits to cut off at the end of the registration exercise to ensure that no one can conduct voter registration after the close of the exercise.
“So as we have set now when it’s 12th December, the system will automatically close. Implying that after that no body can register and it’s for a very simple. The kits are spread through out the country, some very hard to reach and we don’t want anybody to exploit that system in transit to collect the kits where they are. So they automatically log off when you set the pre-set time. So the commission had pre-set the kits to log out on November 26, 2020 which was the end date before the postpoment and this cannot be overridden, until expiry,” he explained.
Nshindano said registration officers were guided on how to log in after the expiry but some failed and they had to send technical supervisors to assist them.
He announced that all centres were now operational.
And Nshindano said the commission had made tremendous progress in registering voters.
“The following cumulative statistics have been recorded in the two phases of voter registration exercise. phase one as announced by her honor the Vice-President Inonge Wina, 1,106,000 was recorded in phase one. Phase two ended on Tuesday. Wednesday was day one for phase three. So phase two 1, 598,426 were recorded approximately representing 44 per cent increase from the first phase bringing the total to 2,704,426. That is the total for phase one and two,” Nshindano said.
He said he was unable to give out regional breakdown because the registration exercise allowed voters to register from any part of the country they prefer.
The chief electoral officer said, based on the above, he risked giving numbers that were not reflective on the ground adding that such data would only be made available at the end of the exercise.
“That’s when we will know what number is voting from where. Currently it is not possible because kits are not linked and this aggregation has not yet been done,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nshindano said the challenges encountered by Zambians which also spilt into phase two had been addressed.
“The commission has noted challenges stakeholders and members of the public encountered in the first phase of voter registration exercise and spelling over to second phase. I would like to assure all Zambians that the commission has put in place various measures to address the concerns that were raised. Among some of the interventions, the commission has increased and deployed additional registration officers and kits across the country and I am sure if you undertake a survey, you will attest to that. Most centres have been beefed up. If there is any centre that is being served by one person please report that centre so that it is dealt with,” he said.
Nshindano said from the operational side of things, centres have atleast two persons manning them in terms of registration officer and laminator.
He added that some centres had also received additional kits as high as 11.
“The case of show grounds. So take advantage but do not overcrowd it,” Nshindano said.
In addition to the above, he announced the commission’s extended hours of operation and the various centres operating at particular times. .
He said in the first category, the operation hours were between 06: 00 hours and 22:hours and these are Muchinga Primary School, Nelson Mandela Primary School and Kizito Primary School all in Matero Constituency.
Others are Cheilenje Community Hall and University of Zambia among others.
Nshindano said those in category two will operate 24/7 and these include civic centres across the country and selected registration centres which include Munali Boys Secondary School, Matero Community Hall, Roma Parish in Mandevu, Kabwata Community Hall, Chawama Primary school in Chawama Constituency, Twashuka Primary School in Kanyama Constituency, Evelyn Hone College and the commission’s Resource Centre in Lusaka’s showgrounds.
He said those in category three will operate between 07:00 hours and 18:00 hours and these include all registration centres not mentioned in category one and two.
Nshindano said the ECZ has continued to monitor the situation and remains alert to anything that may require its attention.
He said the commission has 24 hour surveillance system for all registration centres and appealed to all eligible Zambians not to be discouraged but continue with the enthusiasm to register as voters and participate in 2021 general elections and elections beyond next year.
He also reiterated his call to some unscrupulous people that were intentionally taking advantage of the situation to register more than once.
Nshindano warned that the commission had put in place a mechanism to ditect double or multiple registration and anybody found committing the offence would be liable to prosecution, fine or both.
“As such members of the public must refrain from such acts, again please! Please! There is no way you can register twice. Whoever is feeding you with that information, it is a fallacy. It can’t happen under the current system. Even if you manage to obtain three or four cards, the system will be able to detect you so please refrain. You will just end up having yourself in prison, which we don’t want. Please refrain from doing that it will put you in trouble,” warned Nshindano. -Daily Revelation