A registration officer assists a woman through the process of the voter registration during an exercise in Lusaka, capital of Zambia, on Nov. 9, 2020. A voter registration exercise started here on Monday with Zambia's electoral body urging eligible citizens to turn up in numbers and register. (Photo by Martin Mbangweta/Xinhua)
LUSAKA, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- A voter registration exercise started here on Monday with Zambia's electoral body urging eligible citizens to turn up in numbers and register.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Chairperson Esau Chulu, who officially launched the exercise and registered at the local authority headquarters in Lusaka, the country's capital, said eligible citizens should take advantage of the exercise if they are to vote in next year's general elections.
He told reporters after registering that the electoral body will come up with a new voters' register and that all those who will not register will not be eligible to vote.
Chief Electoral Officer Patrick Nshindano also urged eligible citizens to register so that they can exercise their constitutional right to vote in next year's elections.
He further said all those who participated in the pre-online voter registration exercise which has been running were still required to visit registration centers to obtain their voters' cards.
But President Edgar Lungu urged the electoral body to enhance the provision of information on the exercise.
According to him, people seem not aware of the exercise, adding that it was important to provide adequate information to avoid speculations.
The Zambian leader, who registered as a voter at Chawama Basic School in Chawama, a sprawling shanty compound in Lusaka urged citizens to register as voters.
The exercise started on a slow pace in main registration centers in the capital.
Some citizens talked to expressed concern over the slow process of the registration process.
Isaac Chanda, who was found trying to register at Ngombe PTA School, urged the electoral body to increase its manpower in order to expedite the process.
Some of the voters said they were keen to get their voters' cards in order to participate in next year's elections.
The exercise runs from Nov. 9, 2020, to Dec. 12, 2020. The electoral body has projected to register about 9 million voters.
The decision to conduct the exercise has received a backlash from some opposition political parties and civil society groupings who feel it is a sheer waste of time and resources.
They feel the electoral body should have just urged those who were attaining the voting age to register. Zambia will hold its general elections on August 12, 2021, in line with the country's constitution. Enditem