We are outraged by the revelations in today’s Post Newspaper concerning the registration of foreign nationals as voters. The evidence presented in the exposé shows us that that there is little doubt remaining that serious attempts to manipulate the outcome of the upcoming 11th August elections are underway.
The Electoral Commission of Zambia must now take quick and urgent action to remedy this abuse if elections are to go ahead with any shred of legitimacy. We call on all well-meaning citizens, civil society groups, the Church and the international community to press the ECZ for action and to support them in resolving the gross distortions that have been revealed to reside within the Register of Voters.
The Post article clearly shows how countless foreign nationals, residing along the border areas, have been found in possession of green Zambian National Registration Cards (NRCs) and Voters Cards issued in the recent registration process. Investigations by agents along the Malawian and Tanzanian borders have uncovered hundreds of cards already. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
It is clear that the voter registration process has been very seriously undermined. This is the kind of outright attempt to alter the result of the elections that we have been raising concerns about for some time now, but no action has been taken.
Following the recent voter verification phase, in which a number of specific concerns were raised, it became clear that the prospects for free, fair and credible elections would depend heavily on the so-called independent audit of the Voters’ Register. Yet, as we have alluded to before, there are grave concerns regarding the credibility of the two Kenyan consultants that have been contracted to conduct the audit, with reports in the Kenyan media alleging that one of the consultants had previously been fired from his role at the Kenyan Electoral Commission for gross indiscipline and impropriety.
The UPND has been attending all the ECZ stakeholders meetings where the issue of foreign voters has been consistently brought up. At every stage the ECZ has pushed back and asked those with evidence to provide proof. At the recent ECZ stakeholders meeting by the “independent auditors” tasked to audit the Voters’ Register we were assured that there were no foreign voters registered. The ECZ is expected to hold another stakeholders meeting to present the final independent auditors report shortly. The integrity of the independent auditors is now completely undermined, and by extension the integrity of ECZ.
With little over five weeks to go, the ECZ together with the Department of Passports, Citizens and National Registration must take urgent and comprehensive action to rid the Register of Voters of these distortions, or face the prospect of highly dubious elections on 11th August, the outcome of which will be disputed on the basis of these same unreliable documents.
UPND Secretary General