Make voting compulsory -ZDDM

The new Constitution must have a provision that will compel all citizens to vote in national elections, the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) has suggested.

ZDDM president Edwin Sakala said his party has noted that the number of people who turn up to vote in national elections was very low.

Mr Sakala said his party feared that voter apathy may even affect the outcome of the elections if the majority of voters choose to remain as spectators.

He said this attitude was a source of great concern to his organisation and that it was carrying out a research to find out how other countries in the world handled the problem of voter apathy.

Mr  Sakala  said they were aware that the Electoral Commission of Zambia and other non-governmental organizations had done everything possible to encourage citizens to vote.

Among the efforts being made, he said, included advertising in the media and holding community meetings.

Mr  Sakala however said this was not seen to be effective because the percentage of citizens voting especially in parliamentary by-elections had kept on going down.

“According to what we were told as political parties at a meeting held at ECZ recently, less than 40% of registered voters take the trouble to vote and in some cases this figure goes down to less than 30% which is democratically unhealthy, hence our advocacy that the law must be amended to make voting a must for citizens,” he said.

Mr  Sakala  admitted that there were genuine reasons which could make citizens fail to vote but a provision could provide for people to make advance arrangements to enable them to vote from another polling station within the country for as long as they made necessary notification.

He said as a party, ZDDM felt it was necessary for every citizen to vote as this would usher in candidates who were fully accepted by the electorate.

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