The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) has supported the move by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to readjust the voter registration period for the 2021 general elections from the initial 60 days to 30 days.
During an interview on Radio 4, YALI President, Andrew Ntewewe stated that the decision by ECZ to realign the electoral calendar is in the realization that the country is in the middle of a critical phase of the global pandemic, COVID-19.
Mr. Ntewewe stressed on the fact that COVID-19 should never be under-estimated for it has changed the entire global calendar of which its impact is felt around the world and that ECZ has not been spared by this fateful impact of the pandemic, hence its decision.
He further mentioned that YALI as a key stake holder in electoral process, empathizes with ECZ and it is important that citizens understand and support the decision which is for the greater good of the Zambian people.
As far as YALI is concerned, we believe the registration exercise is doable, citizens can register in mass within 30 days, what is required therefore, is that we all adapt to the change and proactively engage all stakeholders in the entire electoral process.Said Mr Ntewewe.
Mr. Ntewewe further noted that ECZ is not alone in the process but all citizens and stakeholders should come on board and participate to ensure good governance and democracy.
Meanwhile, the decision has not been well accepted by some portion of the citizens
National Democratic Congress Party (NDC) President, Dr. Chishimba Kambwili, had argued that the decision was rushed and not well analyzed.
In an interview with Spring24 TV, Dr. Kambwili stated that a month is not enough time to capture the citizens to register and that the process should instead be extended to three months.
He added, the online registration is not practically and legally acceptable, moreover, the constitution does not provide for online but physical registration.
Meanwhile, ECZ Chief Officer, Patrick Nshindano said the online registration is an initiative that will facilitate capturing of citizen within the 30 days of voter registration.
Mr. Nshindano has therefore, appealed to all citizen and stakeholders to support the online registration for it is much safer and quicker in this COVID-19 environment.
ECZ announced the realigned calendar for voter registration which is to commence on 18th of October and will last for a period of 30 days.
This was attributed to the disturbances that the global pandemic, COVID-19 has caused on ECZ general calendar.