REFORMS to our acclaimed democratic credentials have included coming up with a transparent electoral system.
We are one of few countries in the third world who conduct free, fair and credible elections, making us the envy of many African countries.
The credibility of our elections does not just start and end with all political parties and candidates being allowed to campaign freely but having transparent ballot boxes, counting of results at polling stations and the availability of several local and international monitors.
Despite the transparency of our electoral system, some opposition political parties still cry foul when results are announced.
The continued rejection of election results remains a concern to our democratic dispensation and calls for more reforms to our electoral system.
We are therefore happy that students at Mulungushi University in Kabwe have come up with an electronic voting system and are seeking to partner with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on the possibility of using the new system in future elections.
Students under the school of science, engineering and technology have come up with an information and communication technology (ICT) enterprise project that is dealing with electronic voting.
Under the electronic system of voting project, people are supposed to use their finger prints to cast their vote.
We commend the students for this very innovative project because it will help eliminate administrative issues such as paper work in the voting process.
It will also enhance transparency and, more importantly, help do away with issues of doubting the results.
We are also glad that the students are doing something different from what some of them have been known for of late – rioting.
Zambia is in a hurry to develop and schools of science, engineering and technology have a premium to develop appropriate tools for uptake by the country.
Science, engineering and technology are cross-cutting and can help the country overcome some of the pressing challenges.
The project by the students at Mulungushi University will address the logistical challenge of holding elections in Zambia.
The country is vast with challenging topography which usually gives the ECZ headache in delivering election materials and transmitting results.
The country should support the project because Zambia should move with the times. Technology is changing to serve individuals, communities and societies. Electronic voting is one such technology.
Often people in developing countries wonder how other countries manage to get election results announced within hours of the last person casting his or her vote. There is no need to wonder. The solution is there for all to see and now to actually use, too.
Some countries in the Southern Africa region have either already started using the electronic voting machines or are in the process of starting.
Three years ago, Namibia became the first country in Africa to use this system and other countries like Botswana and South Africa have been having serious discussions on implementing the same.
Zambia can learn from the experiences of those that use this system, not for fault-finding, but for what it would take to implement the same.
Surely, 50-plus years after independence, Zambia should be able to significantly improve on its pace of delivering election results. Let’s listen to the students.