POLITICIANS must take time to go back to the electorate and thank them for voting in an election even if the results do not go in their favour, Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) executive director McDonald Chipenzi has said.
Making an observation on what led to voter apathy in last weeks’s by-elections, Mr Chipenzi said in an interview that politicians must always go back to the electorate after elections to explain to them the importance of participating in such events even if the results do not go their way.
He said electorates must always feel part and parcel of the process if they are to see the real value of taking part in an election.
Mr Chipenzi observed that in some constituencies such as Senga Hill, the distance between polling stations contributed to a low voter turnout.
“It is always important to make the electorate feel part and parcel of the process by going back to thank them even if results do not go your way. This really makes them see value in participating in an election,” he said.
Mr Chipenzi further noted that there still was need to carry out extensive voter education especially in rural areas.
“We still need to carry out extensive voter education as stakeholders in the whole system by way of motivating people to take part in an election. Institutions tasked with ensuring voter education must be very efficient and carry out their duties effectively,” he said. And Mr Chipenzi has praised political parties for the manner in which they conducted themselves in last week’s by-elections. He said people behaved in a mature way that enabled the elections to run smoothly without any serious disturbances.
He has called on Zambians to continue with the same spirit as it enhances the democracy of the country.
Meanwhile, FODEP has called on members of the public to take advantage of the forthcoming voter registration exercise to register as voters. Mr Chipenzi said this was a great opportunity for those who had lost their voter’s card to replace them in readiness for elections in the near future.
“We are encouraging those who do not have voter’s cards as well as those who might have lost them to take advantage of this upcoming voter registration exercise to have them replaced,” he said.
He urged people to take an interest in matters affecting the nation.