MMD President Dr. Nevers Mumba has attributed the failure of the Referendum to former President Lungu’s stubbornness in ignoring free advice offered to him by many stakeholders not to hold the August 2016 Elections together with the Referendum.
Dr. Mumba said on his part, he had offered exhaustive advise on how to proceed with the referendum, at a press briefing dated 10th December, 2015 and other fora, at which he congratulated the Members of Parliament for passing the Amended Constitution but also cautioned Mr. Lungu against holding the Referendum together with the General Election as it would fail. The following reasons were advanced:
- To successfully hold the referendum, the government was required to hold a national census to ascertain the total number of eligible voters i.e those who would be at least 18 years of age and issued with National Registration Cards. For the Referendum to pass therefore, at least 50% of these eligible voters, NOT THOSE WHO VOTED, needed to vote ‘YES.’ All this was explained to the nation at great length. Regrettably this advice was ignored.
- The cost of holding the Referendum was the same as holding an election, more so that this year included Mayoral elections and it was felt that this would be a major drain on the country’s coffers in the face of a budget deficit, particularly that key cooperating partners such as the USA and others, had clearly indicated that they would not contribute towards the Referendum budget. It was suggested the Referendum be deferred to a later date. This was ignored. We now ask the ECZ to tell the nation the total cost of holding the just-ended election with the referendum.
- It was strongly felt that there would be logistical challenges in successfully holding the Referendum without massive countrywide publicity and sensitization at all levels and in all Zambian languages. It was felt that there was insufficient time between December 2015 and August 2016 to achieve this as most citizens would not be reached to help them clearly understand the issues involved and what they would be voting for. All this was ignored and the result today by ECZ speaks for it self. It is now clear to all that there appears to have been another ulterior motive for insisting on rushing the Referendum. Regrettably, most of the people interviewed on various electronic media platforms in the last few days have said they did not know what the Referendum was about and therefore either voted ‘NO’ or simply abstained from the referendum vote altogether.