Voter registration exercise gobbles K124m – Veep


VICE President Inonge Wina says a total of K124 million has been disbursed so far in the on-going voter registration exercise.

Ms Wina said this in Parliament yesterday when she presented her ministerial statement on the on-going voter registration exercise.

She told Parliament that, the exercise which was estimated to cost K475 million, would need all the political parties to assist in the sensitisation of the citizens.

“In order to capture voters who would have obtained their National Registration Cards after the 2015 mobile exercise or who would not have been able to register, the Electoral Commission of Zambia will conduct a country wide voter registration exercise for 14 days in March 2016,” she said.

Ms Wina said this was in bid to counter the disfranchisement of as many eligible citizens as possible.

“In this regard, the commission shall not extend the voter registration exercise in any province, save for those districts in which the exercise will have to be suspended for a prescribed period in the event of a by-election,” she said.

Ms Wina said the voter registration exercise would be conducted in four phases in 7,700 voter registration centers, which were polling stations that had been turned into registration centers for the purpose.

“These centres have been designated in all the 105 districts countrywide. The voter registration officers will spend 14 days at each centre until all registration centres nationwide are covered,” she said.

But Liuwa MP Situmbeko  Musokotwane opposed the process and urged Government to consider suspending the issuance of voter registration and concentrate on the issuance of NRC’s.

Mr Musokotwane, who is also former Finance minister in the MMD administration, said Government should consider suspending the voter registration exercise in order to concentrate on giving out NRC’s first.

“There is no doubt that a lot of young people want to register as

voters but the problem is that most of them do not have NRC’s,

“So wouldn’t Government consider suspending the issuance of voter registration and allow that of  NRC to continue because doing both at the same time is costly and Government does not have enough resources,” Mr Musokotwane said.

And Ikelenge Member of Parliament Elijah Muchima expressed concern that the exercise was not capturing prisoners.

Mr Muchima, who wanted to find out from the Vice President why the exercise did not capture prisoners, demanded an explanation from the Ms Wina.

But in her response, Ms Wina said the current Constitution did not allow Government to consider registering prisoners as voters.

“We are constrained by the Constitution to allow prisoners to register as voters. It is a constitutional matter,” Ms Wina said.

And Ms Wina reiterated that in order for the exercise to succeed, it required total support and participation of all stakeholders.