The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has said the postponement of the Chilanga and Mpulungu Parliamentary by-election to Saturday may marginalise some religious faith.
Foundation Information Officer MacDonald Chipenzi in a statement to ZANIS in Lusaka Sunday noted that rescheduling the day from Thursday to Saturday mighty result in high voter apathy due to religious reasons.
Mr. Chipenzi said some voters who strongly believe that Saturday is a Holy day dedicated to the Lord and no work should be done including voting may shun the voting process.He observed that constituencies with a lot of people with strong religious beliefs might record low turn out of voters resulting in voter apathy.
Mr. Chipenzi said the move taken by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to move the voting day from a normal working day to a week end to allow pupils write their exams is good from the education point of view and not politically.
Mr. Chipenzi said the decision was good as it accorded pupils to write their examinations undisrupted adding that it showed respect to the pupil’s right to education.
However, he noted that the noise that characterised political campaigns may have a great impact on pupils’s concentration during their examinations which may consequently affect the pass rate in the affected constituencies and wards.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chipenzi has recommended for an evaluation of the effect of the seemingly unending by-elections in the country on the education sector.
He said the evaluation report from ECZ should include the quality of teaching and pupils produced from the affected constituencies and wards from the 2008 presidential by-election to date.
Mr. Chipenzi stated that an evaluation report on the impact of the by-elections on education would help put in place future remedial mechanisms aimed at reducing deprivation of the pupil’s right to education and uninterrupted education calendar.
Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia announced the postponement of the Mpulungu and Chilanga by-elections from 28th October to 30th October to allow pupils in the affected constituencies to sit for their grades 7, 9 and 12 examinations.