With only five days remaining before Zambians go back to the poll to elect the sixth head of State following the death of President Michael Sata in London on October 28 last year, there remains little time left for the 11 contesting candidates to explain on how they will impress upon the electorate to turn out in large numbers to cast their votes.
We hope the campaigns the Presidential candidates have been conducting generated enough interest among voters to compel them to turn out in large numbers in next Tuesday’s election.
Voters normally decide not to cast their ballots when they really do not care who wins or loses.
Lack of interest in voting has for a long time been a cancer in the national electoral process.
Over the years, there has been declining percentages of voters in national elections.
This becomes even worse when it is by-election time.
For example, although the 2011 polls were both Presidential and general elections, only 44 percent of five million eligible voters cast their ballots.
Many voters in Zambia simply do not care who holds public office.
This is partly because most public office holders have generally failed to impress.
There has been the failure by the political leadership to fulfil campaign promises, especially on the delivery of a new good Constitution.
Many Zambians believe that a good Constitution will go a long way in resolving some of the problems that they face.
While successive governments have never failed to find resources to resolve political problems, it seems the fulfilment of social amenities has been lacking.
As a result of this, a large number of the electorate has felt let down.
They have withdrawn from voting, describing the undertaking as a waste of time.
Politicians are now accused of seeking public offices to enrich themselves.
The politicians have the right to seek public office but also a duty to fulfil their campaign promises.
This is the only way the interest of voters will be reactivated to compel them participate in elections.
The politicians should not leave the duty of encouraging voters to participate in elections to the Electoral Commission of Zambia alone.
While the ECZ has performed well in informing the public about the 11 Presidential candidates and all the electoral procedures, it must be noted that the electoral body is only a referee in a process that is wholly owned and given credence by the people themselves.
The major job of political parties contesting elections should not only be to make promises but also impress upon their supporters to cast their votes.