THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should work closely with the National Registration ffice to ensure that the people issued with new NRCs and are eligible to vote and are captured before the end of voter registration exercise, the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has advised.
SACCORD executive director Boniface Cheembe said it would defeat all efforts being made by stakeholders to improve the numbers of voters if the issuance of NRC’s was uncoordinated.
Mr Cheembe demanded that ECZ and the National Registration office should ensure that all areas of the country were covered with the issuance of NRCs before voter registration began.
“…As SACCORD we feel that the current uncoordinated activities will disadvantage other players in the electoral process,” he said.
Mr Cheembe said SACCORD was worried that the exercise had started in a few areas while other places would conduct the exercise in the rainy season.
Mr Cheembe said to avoid accusations that ECZ wanted to disadvantage certain political parties, there was urgent need to issue NRCs in all the provinces.
“SACCORD is concerned that areas that are opposition strongholds have been placed at the end of the exercise when the registration of voters would have stopped and also when it would be rainy season when people are busy attending to their fields compounded with poor road access as a result of rains,”Mr Cheembe said.
He said SACCORD found it discriminatory and not in the spirit of promoting democracy and a level political playing field.
“Until such a time that the process is harmonized to ensure that everyone is given the same opportunities, the exercise will remain questionable and predetermined to disenfranchise other voters,” Mr Cheembe said.