Illiterate people should not vote

By Chewe Mubiana

In our Zambian Constitution, every person who is above the age of 18yrs old is eligible to vote. It does not matter whether the person with this right is able to understand and reason. As long as a person is Zambian and has reached the age of 18yrs old, they have a constitutional right to vote. It is my considered opinion that the right to vote is a very important right which ought to be given to person who have the requisite mental state to make right decisions for the country. There is need to have certain restrictions on the right to vote. This is more poignant in Zambia where a big constituency of the voters are in most cases non compos mentis. Most of our voters are literally instructed on how to vote. They are told that if they vote a particular way, they will be provided with alcohol and cigarettes. Some are given as little as K20 for them to vote a certain way. If we have to uphold the virtue of universal suffrage, we also need to consider the vice of confused, illiterates having this very important right which in the end determines the destiny of a country. It is my considered view that there needs to be some safeguards with regard to persons who have the right to vote. A person with this important right must be able to discern what is right and what is wrong. The voting rationale in our country is worrying. If people continue to vote in this way, we may find ourselves with a leadership which will be so grotesque that we shall NEVER recover as a nation. The fallacy of universal suffrage must be re-examined!

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