Referendum failure will be a disaster – YALI


THERE will be a serious challenge if the referendum fails to go through as Zambians would have lost the opportunity for the Government to prioritize quality health care and education as a right, says Young African Leaders Initiative president Andrew Ntewewe.

Mr Ntewewe said it would be  if the referendum failed to go through when the Government has spent a lot of money on it.

He said it would be a lost opportunity for the Zambian people to be able to hold Government accountable on the delivery of social amenities for the betterment of the people.

“If this referendum fails, it will bring serious challenges because then it would mean the country has to wait for another referendum some other time.

“The implications of the failure of a referendum are that Government has wasted so much money over a failed agenda, which becomes a wasted strain on the State coffers,” he said.

He said it would not be possible for the country to hold another referendum soon because of the elections fatigue the people have been exposed to with five major elections in the last 10 years.

Mr Ntewewe was commenting on reports after the Thursday’s polls that some voters did not take part in the referendum vote as they did not mark the ballot papers, while others were spoilt ballots.

He said campaigns meant to publicise the referendum alongside the 2016 general elections proved to have been very divisive on the matter which interfered with public knowledge on its benefits.

“Right now these elections have been so divisive for the people to understand exactly what was meant to take part and vote in a referendum.

‘‘At least YALI tried to campaign and support the benefits of the voting in a referendum from the onset to try and bring the people to understand its contents and its benefits,” he said.

Meanwhile, YALI governance advisor Isaac Mwanza has disclosed that the referendum only required a simple majority to go through as long as the votes counted exceeded the 50 percent threshold out of 3,800,000 votes.

Mr Mwanza said there was a misconception that there was need for over 50 percent of voters to vote ‘Yes’ for the referendum to be successful when all that was required was a simple majority of ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ votes to go through.

He said the Attorney General must provide guidance on the matter to help correct the wrong impression created that 50 percent of voters ought to say ‘Yes’ for the process to be successful.

“A simple majority is enough to decide a referendum, but there is an impression as though there was supposed to be high turnout for the 50 percent plus 1 votes for a successful referendum outcome.