Ndola records large voter turnout

AFTER months of fierce debates and vigorous campaigns, electorates in Ndola turned out in large numbers to finally have their say through a ballot.

Most polling stations had long queues which started forming from as early as 04 hours yesterday morning.

However confusion was reported at James Phiri polling station in Ndola Central following the delay by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officers to open the polling station.

The voters that queued up as early as 04 hours protested after waiting for 45 minutes from the stipulated time to have the station opened.

Station polling officer Ireen Meke, who officially opened at 06:50 hours, told the irate voters that she had been preparing the room and tools used in the exercise.

And Copperbelt provincial electoral officer (PEO) McCloud Nyirenda disclosed in an interview that most polling stations in the province opened at 06 hours while others slightly minutes after the stipulated time.

Mr.Nyirenda cited the failure by some station officers not to open on time as general.

Mr.Nyirenda said Ndola Central, which consists of 51 polling stations, all opened at the stipulated time and voting proceeded with no challenges.

He admitted having received reports of some voters missing in the register, indicating that such issues were referred to the commission.

He stated that Kalulushi district recorded a large turnout, few polling stations had reported to have opened later than 6:30 hours because polling staff were putting up makeshift shelters for booths due to lack of permanent structures in some areas.

For Chililabombwe district, he stated that with total of 52 polling stations, 11opened at 06 hours while 41 stations opened after 6:30 hours.

Nchanga constituency with 53 polling stations, 12 opened at 06 hours, 10 opened between 06 and 07 hours with the rest 31slightly after 06:30 hours.

He said Chingola Central with 79 polling station, 12 are on record to have opened at 06 hours,11 opened between 06 and 06:30 hours with the rest after 06:30 hours.

Mr.Nyirenda started that despite the delay in opening of most polling stations, voters will not be defranchised of their right to cast their vote because time

lost will be compensated.

Meanwhile, stations visited by the Daily Nation in the four constituencies recorded an overwhelming turnout of voters with a number of them by 09 hours recording between 100 and 200 people having cast their votes.

But some polling officers registered low turnout in the referendum.

The officers stated that voters were expressing ignorance on the process and demanding information from the assistants.