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Voter exercise on course – Veep

VIOLET MENGO, Parliament
VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina has told Parliament that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will in March next year conduct a countrywide voter registration exercise for 14 days to ensure citizens’ right to vote.
The Vice-President told the House in a statement yesterday that K475 million has been budgeted for the voter registration exercise, which started on September 14, 2015.
She said that out of the K475 million,  K315 million is for the mobile registration exercise and K160 million has been allocated for the two-week registration exercise set for March next year.
“K124 million has been disbursed so far, the commission shall not extend the voter registration exercise in any province, save for those districts in which the exercise will have to be suspended for a prescribed period in the event of a by-election,” Mrs Wina said.
She said the voter registration will be conducted in four phases in the 7,700 voter registration centres, which are polling stations that have been turned into registration centres in all 105 districts.
Phase one was from September 14 to September 27 while the second phase started on September 29 and ends on October 12.
The third phase will be from October 14 to November 11.
Mrs Wina said 2,063 registration teams have been deployed countrywide for the exercise.
“During the exercise, the Commission will register new voters who are not on the current permanent register of voters. The commission is targeting 1.7 million new registrations nationwide,” Mrs Wina said.
The Vice-President said to encourage youths to register as voters, ECZ has provided that any person who will turn 18 years on or before July 2016, will be allowed to register as a voter.
She also said ECZ has also provided for the replacement of voters’ card for registered voters whose cards are either lost or destroyed.
“The commission is also transferring on request voters who wish to be relocated from one polling station to another. Such a voter will be required to surrender their old voter’s card and a new card will be issued to them with new polling station details,” Mrs Wina said
And Mrs Wina is concerned about the low turnout for the exercise by women in Lusaka, Copperbelt and Muchinga provinces.