THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has suspended the voter registration exercise in Lubasenshi and Solwezi West constituencies for two weeks to facilitate the parliamentary and local government by-elections.
ECZ chairperson Justice Essau Chulu said the commission halted the exercise for two weeks to facilitate for elections which he said could not run concurrently as some of the officers conducting voter registration would also be engaged to conduct elections while the same facilities used for voter registration would be used for the polls.
Justice Chulu said this yesterday during a stakeholders meeting on the second update on preparations for the voter registration exercise.
He however said that the two weeks that would be dedicated to the elections will be compensated as the commission would extend the exercise by another two weeks to give more time for people in the affected constituencies to register as voters.
“As you may know, the commission has set 24th September 2015 as the polling date for the National Assembly by-elections for Lubasenshi and Solwezi West constituencies as well as Local Government by-elections in nine wards. At that time, the voter registration exercise would have commenced, and the two exercises cannot run concurrently because the same centres, and in some cases, the same officers would be used for both exercises,” Justice Chulu said.
He also said the exercise throughout the country will come to end on 11th November this year but added that the commission will conduct a final country-wide voter registration exercise for 14 days in March next year to cater for Zambians who would not have obtained their National Registration Cards after the 2015 mobile registration exercise.
“The commission has decided to end the country-wide mobile voter registration exercise on 11th November 2015 as initially planned. What this means is that the National Registration, Passport and Citizenship Department would have completed the second phase of the mobile issuance of NRCs.
“What this means is that there will not be any extension of the voter registration in any province. However, the commission will conduct a country-wide voter registration exercise for 14 days in March 2016, to carter for Zambians who would not have obtained their NRCs after the 2015 mobile voter registration exercise. The exact dates will be announced in the due course,” Justice Chulu said.
Meanwhile, the commission has said that all is set for the second phase of the mobile voter registration exercise which will be conducted in Lusaka, Western, Eastern, and Southern provinces starting next week.
Justice Chulu said the commission had distributed voter registration kits and had commenced training of personnel to conduct the activity.
“I would like to confirm to you that the voter registration kits have been delivered. Training of personnel at various levels had commenced while the media voter campaign commenced on 24th August, with advertisements in both print and electronic media,” he said.