Editor's Comment

Zambians should embrace e-voting system

EVERY Zambian has a democratic right to vote when it is election time.
Zambia, like many other countries, has a number of its citizenz of the soil scattered far and wide.
Some end up in foreign countries in search of a better life while others go there because of a better job offer or some are sent abroad on national duties.
However, one finds herself living in a foreign country, we want to say that they should not be excluded from taking part in the democratic processes such as voting when it is taking place at home.
Zambia does not live in the past and because of this, it should be in tandem with the times.
The advances in technology now provide an opportunity for Zambians abroad to take part in voting, wherever they are.
We are elated by President Lungu’s statement that he has engaged funding agencies to consider implementing the e-voting system in Zambia.
E-voting is the way to go now because our colleagues who are abroad, have better access to communication technology.
We all appreciate technology because it is meant to make the way we do things easier and this applies to the electoral process as well.
In using technology, we aim to maximise resources like time and funds so that we get the best out of something.
It is in the use of e-voting that Zambians, especially those who are beyond the borders, will be reached, within no time and using minimum resources.
For now, it is well-known that they are hampered by resources in terms of transportation costs to get back home, in the first place, to register and at another time to verify the voters roll and eventually to vote.
It is only fair that these processes take place in their favour so that they can be afforded a chance to make a decision on the choice of leaders they want.
We have an example, just closer to home, of Namibia which has implemented the e-voting system.
The system is said to have been used during that country’s elections last year, giving a chance to its citizens scattered in the Diaspora to vote.
Other countries that have adopted the electronic voting system are Australia, India while Panama and Costa Rica have implemented some form of e-voting.
This provides a point of learning for Zambia and as countries that enjoy good bilateral relations, the exchange of ideas is on the agenda of both countries.
We are wary about the challenges of technology is abound to pose but we hasten to say that challenges are meant to be surmounted.
Before implementing the e-voting system, Government needs to do its homework, that is, to prepare the stakeholders, both within and outside the country.
All too often, every human being is bound to resist change and remain content in the status quo, even when that change is for greater good of the people.
Like President Lungu observed, some people in Zambia will not accept that e-voting can work here.
This is where we are saying that Government should shoulder the responsibility to educate Zambians on the workability of the e-voting system and open avenues of dialogue with those who will resist the change.
We want to believe that if it can work in Namibia and elsewhere, then it should work in Zambia as well and we can learn from those who have implemented the e-voting system already.
Technology is changing the way we do things and so people should be willing to embrace change by using the electronic voting system.

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