By Silumesi Malumo
THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) is working towards actualising diaspora voting ahead of the 2026 general elections, Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano has said.
Mr Nshindano has thus implored Zambians living abroad to take advantage of the ongong voter registration exercise to register as voters in readiness of the 2021 elections.
He also indicated that currently the Electoral Act does not allow Zambians living in the Diaspora to vote from their respective jurisdictions.
Mr Nshindano said this yesterday when he addressed Zambians in the Diaspora during a virtual meeting organ- ised by ‘Zambians Together’ in partnership with the Zambian
High Commission in London. “Citizens in the diaspora have the right to be able to exercise their vote but not in their respective jurisdictions because there are certain impediments in the current form. “Under the electoral process Act, the current regulations spell out that, firstly, for one to be able to vote, you need to present yourself before a reg- istration officer, so that entails that one has to be physically
there,” he said.Mr Nshindano said the ECZ
was committed to ensuring that diaspora voting was actalised as the move would facilitate for upholding of human rights as enshrined in the Con- stitution.
He added that the ECZ had
since started amending some guidelines to realign the elec- toral process with the Constitution. Mr Nshindano said his organization was working closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate for diaspora voting.
He said: “There is need to gather statistics to understand the population in the constituencies that the Commission has in the diaspora.”
He explained that ECZ would in future have to set up and gazette polling stations and the best jurisdictions would have to be Zambian missions abroad.
“For us to do all this, the misions abroad will have to be included in the delimitation exercise so that they are electoral
binding. There are also other administrative aspects that could also speak to legislative process within the regulations; different time zones need to be taken into consideration.
“I hope that parliament will be supportive of this course,” he said.
Mr Nshindano reaffirmed that diaspora voting was not new to the commission, stating that despite ECZ attempting to implement it in the previous elections, political parties had always expressed misgivings perceiving the move as a con- duit to electoral fraud.
And Zambian’s High Com- missioner to the United Kingdom His Lt General. Paul Mihova assured Zambians in the UK that the mission would continue to facilitate dialogue between the government and the diaspora on key issues.
By Silumesi Malumo