VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
THE Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) has appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs to treat issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) with utmost urgency to allow youths who have attained voting age to obtain voters cards before the 2016 tripartite elections.
Chairperson Pukuta Mwanza said in Lusaka during the launch of the voter registration monitoring phase one report, that the issuance of NRCs should run concurrently with the voter registration exercise.
â€œThe department should speed up the implementation of the integrated national registration system to allow for smooth linkages between the voter register and the civil register,â€ Reverend Mwanza said.
The monitoring of the first phase of the registration exercise was designed to assess whether the registration exercise meets certain international and regional standards on voter registration.
The benchmarks of the exercise include transparency of the process, inclusiveness, non-discrimination and accuracy.
Rev Mwanza said the process meets the above standards except in a few instances where the CCMG found some infringements, but these did not impact on the overall process.
He said while the CCMG monitors did not document widespread breakdown of equipment, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should ensure all measures are taken to fix or replace non-functioning equipment to avoid delays and disenfranchising registrants.
â€œThe commission should aim to compensate for the days lost if a centre is closed due to machine failure,â€ Rev Mwanza said.
He commended ECZ for ensuring that in most cases, the centres are operational and that there were few incidences of potential registrants being turned away from registration centres.
â€œThe efforts should be complemented by increased publicity around voter registration. In addition, the commission should ensure that its adverts and awareness-raising efforts emphasise the new issues like the cut-off point of the registration of youths that allows those who turn 18 years by July 26th 2016 to register,â€ he said.
Rev Mwanza said the messages should also highlight that those who registered already from the previous registration exercise need not register but inspect the register during the inspection period.
VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka