OUR Civic Duty Association has appealed to the Electoral Commission of Zambia to register those who have been left out of the new Voter’s Register.
Our Civic Duty Association (OCiDA) spokesperson Robert Sichinga, in a statement, said there were many sentiments coming from many people who have been left out in the new Voter’s Register, for various reasons.
He explained that those who were in Grade 12 and those in colleges and universities had been complaining that at the time the voter registration exercise was taking place, they were either preparing to write or writing exams.
Sichinga said some people had been complaining that they spent several days queuing up without being registered until they gave up on going to register.
“Some mothers with small babies have been saying that they could not keep their babies for long without food as they spent a lot of time on the queues. Some people have been saying that they were sick the time the voter registration was going on, and the time they recovered, the registration officers had left the registration centres which were in their vicinity,” Sichinga said. “In some registration centres, the registration officers did not exhaust registering everyone before leaving for another registration centre, hence leaving many people stranded without being registered.”
He added that during the mobile issuance of national registration cards (NRCs), some areas had not been covered, hence there were many people who failed to register as voters due to lack of such national documents.
Sichinga said the four-day extension period did not help matters because on the first day, a number of centres recorded zero registration.
“This was because some designated centres were not densely populated while the densely populated ones were not designated for registration,” he said. “Zero registration was recorded on some days of the extension period because it was raining. The season in which the voter registration was taking place is not conducive for people whose existence is dependent on farming.”
Sichinga argued that generally, the 38 days within which the voter registration exercise took place were not adequate to capture majority of eligible voters.
His statement was prompted by a challenge from Zambia Institute of Civil Liberties and Advocacy Platform (ZIGCLAP) chief executive officer Francis Chipili, on the personal data OCiDA has been collecting from unregistered but eligible voters.
Chipili challenged OCiDA to come out clean and tell the nation what it intended to do with citizens’ data it was collecting.
“It should not ride on the Electoral Commission of Zambia to orchestrate its hidden agenda. We are dismayed at the activities being undertaken by OCiDA,” said Chipili. “The attempts to force the Electoral Commission of Zambia to register voters outside the registration window, which the Commission had provided, were absolutely unwelcome interference in the pre-election operation processes of the Commission.”