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LUBANSENSHI electorates queue up to vote at the Council Nursery. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU

Politicians must adopt more workable approach to politics

WHILE the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is doing commendable work issuing voters’ cards and encouraging people to vote, it is also important for our politicians to adopt a more workable approach to politics in a democratic setting such as ours. This will resuscitate voters’ interest to vote in elections. We hope the message is clear and is received well by all, especially politicians.
The on-going voter registration exercise coincided with the by-elections in Lubasenshi in Northern Province and Solwezi West.
We are happy that the people of Lubansenshi and Solwezi West now have representatives in Parliament, thanks to the by-elections that took place last Thursday.
One hurdle has been overcome but another seems to persist – low voter turn-out, which the current voter registration being conducted simultaneously with the issuance of national registration cards is seeking to curtail.
It is not encouraging that Zambia, with a population of over 13 million people, could have almost one million people voting – where are the other 12 million?
There is a lot leaders at various levels can do to ensure that more people, especially the youth, get involved in the governance of the country.
Governance of this great country starts with acquiring a national registration card (NRC) and then voters’ card to help them choose leaders of their choice starting at ward to parliamentary and then presidency.
We, therefore, congratulate the people of Lubansenshi and Solwezi West on voting for their members of Parliament in George Mwamba of the Patriotic Front (PF) and Teddy Kasonso of the United Party for National Development (UPND).
However, we are still disheartened by the poor voter turn-out in the two parliamentary by-elections which seems to be forming a scary pattern ahead of next year’s general elections. We expected overwhelming aggregates of voters in the just-conducted Lubansenshi and Solwezi West by-elections.
Soaring numbers in the by-elections could have reversed the unsatisfactory countrywide trend of low voter turn-out. We strongly need to do something about the matter to keep our democracy ever-shinning.
There could be several factors contributing to the low voter turn-out and violence is certainly one of them.
Certainly, there was not much violence in Solwezi West and Lubansenshi, which is good but probably voters could not turn up at polling stations for fear of the same vice.
There have been informed of incidents in time past in which violence has reared its ugly face in by-elections and that has probably made some of them to develop cold feet towards turning up at polling stations and casting their all-important votes.
This should show our politicians, more so those using violence as part of their winning strategy that the archaic way of campaigning using brutality does not pay. It actually disinterests the very people they desire to get votes from.
We urge Zambian politicians to denounce violence in the strongest terms, not just in word but also in very firm actions. They have a mandate to do that as leaders. In short, may our political leaders inspire civility among their cadres to rid our elections campaigns of violence. They are morally required to lead by example and on our part, we will be more than happy to see them do that.
The list could go on and on as to why voters are seemingly not enthusiastic to vote in elections, but we feel the fact that democracy is not deeply entrenched among certain politicians is compounding the problem.
It is time our politicians sat down to reflect on some of the issues we have raised to improve voter turn-out in elections. This is very important because next year, we, as a nation, hold the tripartite elections.