ALERT Patriotic Front (PF) cadres in Solwezi yesterday thwarted an attempt by the United Party for National Development (UPND) to registering 15 underage children.
The cadres temporarily disrupted the voter registration exercise at Solwezi municipal council after they suspected that 15 youths who went to register as voters were underage.
The PF cadres then commandeered 15 youths, comprising boys and girls to the police station for allegedly acquiring voter’s cards illegally.
Speaking in an interview, PF North-western Provincial Youth Chairman Gerald Chibuye said there have been a lot of rumours of the council favouring the UPND and the registration of under age children as voters.
“They are registering young boys and girls who can easily be manipulated in order to vote out the current government. The UPND is using illegal means to secure more votes in the province in an attempt to win the 11th August tripartite elections. This is happening right here at council premises, which shows that the council is aware of the irregularity,” Mr. Chibuye said.
He said the PF would not condone malpractices or unlawful acts by any individual or political parties that may influence this year’s elections.
He accused the UPND of manipulating parents and children in rural areas to register as voters.
“It is clear that some of these boys and boys are way below 18 but have been coerced into coming here to try and cheat the system,” he said.
Mr. Chibuye said registration of the underage was a criminal offence which should be investigated by government to protect the electoral process.
He urged Government to take the matter seriously and prosecute everyone involved in the malpractice.And Solwezi District acting Town Clerk (TC) Naomi Simwanza bemoaned the disruption of the voter registration exercise.
She said the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) was mandated to register all eligible candidates provided they possessed a Green National Registration Card (NRC).
And Solwezi District Commissioner Rose Kamalonga said she could only give a comment after investigations and verification of the information.
The Police command in Solwezi said a comprehensive statement would be issued after the conclusion of investigation.
However by 12:00 hours yesterday, the 15 youths were still in police custody pending further verification while the registration exercise at the council resumed.