THERE is an urgent need for Government to amend the laws governing the Electoral Commission of Zambia to allow for, among others, the automatic registration of eligible voters.
Since there is no automatic registration of voters in Zambia, the numbers found on the voters’ roll have not been impressive to usher into State House a majority head of State.
While the population of Zambia has been growing, the voters’ roll appears to have nothing to show for it.
Although Zambia has more than five million voters on the country’s register, not all line up to vote for the candidate of their choice.
In fact, it would be wrong to assume that all the five million voters would cast their ballots, as some have died while others do not want to exercise their right to vote.
Each coming election, political players have to compete for few votes, thereby producing minority leaders.
This is the case with the forthcoming presidential by-election.
Going by the number of political party leaders confirming their intentions to contest the Republican Presidency, it is clear that the next head of State will be a minority leader.
Looking at the voters’ roll, it is undisputable that Zambia’s next President in this transition period before the general election in 2016 will be walking to State House with less than 1.5 million votes to rule over 13 million Zambians.
So far four political party presidents have confirmed their participation in the forthcoming presidential election while the ruling party, Patriotic Front and the former ruling party MMD, are close to picking their hopefuls.
The political parties that have confirmed participation are the National Restoration Party (NAREP), Forum for Democracy and Development, Forum for Democratic Alternatives and the United Party for National Development (UPND).
The four political parties will no doubt be joined by the PF and the MMD.
The Zambian political arena is full of surprises and may just witness more presidential hopefuls on the nomination day.
But while the number of presidential hopefuls seems to be increasing in each successive election, the voters roll continues to have far less voters.
This is the reason why we are calling for reforms in our electoral laws so that Zambians can be made aware of their civic duty to elect their leaders.
The starting point should be having electoral laws that remind voters of their civic duty to vote or to be voted for in governance systems.
With the final draft Constitution in circulation, we hope some of the amendments that will find themselves in the new Constitution will be pertaining to the electoral laws.