By OLIVER SAMBOKO
THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should be given powers to deregister any political party that instigates violence during or after elections to preserve the integrity of the electoral process, Chief Shakumbila of the Sala and Ila people of Central Province has said.
The traditional leader said violence had the potential to erode confidence in the electoral process and lead to a low turn-out in next year’s general elections.
He said it was evident from the many cases of violence during elections that some political leaders are trouble makers and the ones causing anarchy in the country.
Chief Shakumbila said the only way to stop political violence in the country was to come up with a mechanism were the ECZ had powers to deregister political parties that are in the habit of using violence as a means to win elections.
Chief Shakumbila said political violence did not only affect voter turn-out, but also was also responsible for the high number of injuries and deaths of innocent people who are caught up in fights.
“As a country we need to give ECZ powers to deregister political parties that engage in politically instigated violence because this is the only way the vice can be curbed and restore integrity in the electoral process,” he said.
The traditional leader also appealed to Government to extend the mobile issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) and the period planed for voter registration to allow all illegible Zambians to take part in next year’s general elections.
He said the time allocated for the two important exercises was too short and that there was a likelihood that many people, especially in rural areas, were going to be disadvantaged and might not be able to register as voters.
“The allocated time is too short to capture everyone, and I call on Government to consider extending the period to allow everyone who is illegible to acquire the two important documents that will allow them to vote next year,” he said.
By OLIVER SAMBOKO