SOUTHERN Province has recorded the highest turnout in voter registration hitting 75 percent of the targeted voters followed by Central and Lusaka Provinces, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said
ECZ chairperson Justice Essau Chulu said the commission has in the same vein extended the 2015 mobile voter registration by 21 days with the hope of hitting its 1.7 million voter target which was estimated to cost K68.5 million
Justice Chulu said that the commission would also continue registering voters in Civic Centers until 31st March, 2016 apart from yet another extension of 14 days in March 2016.
Speaking at the ECZ stakeholders meeting at the commission’s offices yesterday, Justice Chulu requested the civil society organisations and all stakeholders to take advantage of the extension to encourage eligible voters to register.
Justice Chulu however regretted the attitude of many Zambians who would wait until it was too late to register which he said created long queues in most centers across the country.
He said there was need for citizens to maximize the 21 days extension because the commission was not going to have another extension until March next year.
Justice Chulu said while mobile voter registration closed on Wednesday, the commission had extended the exercise for seven days in districts where the exercise was suspended due to by-elections that were held in September in Lubansenshi and Solwezi West Constituences.
He stated that the seven day extension would be from 13th to 19th November, 2015 and was meant to compensate for the period that the voter registration exercise in the affected areas was suspended.
“At the end of the first three phases of the mobile voter registration exercise, the Commission had captured 893,783 new voters representing 52 percent of the targeted 1.7 million new voters. Only Southern Province was able to register over 75 percent of the targeted voters followed by Central and Lusaka Provinces with over 65 percent,
“The performance in the other seven Provinces was below target and of great concern were Copperbelt, Luapula and North-Western Provinces. In view of the aforesaid, the Commission will extend the 2015 mobile voter registration for 21 days,” Justice Chulu said.
Justice Chulu said the Commission had received complaints that some political parties had commenced early campaigns for the 2016 general elections and that the complaints had been tabled before the National Conflict Management Committee.
He said political parties were advised to desist from displaying their campaign materials in public places until after the Commission announced the commencement of the campaigns.
And the ECZ has said it is not an offence for political parties ferrying their party members to voter registration centers and that political parties that were conducting such an exercise were in fact assisting the commission.