Namuswa voters complain of long distances to polling stations

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—A number of people from Namuswa ward in Chief Singani’s area of Choma district may not have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming Presidential election slated for January next year.

The villagers complained that their right to vote may be hampered by the long distances that they have to cover to get to the various polling stations in Namuswa ward.

This came to light when the Choma District Voter Education Committee visited the ward on a monitoring tour.

Senior Village Head Man Ziaula Million Siamukumba said most polling stations in Namuswa ward are located in distant places and people have to walk as far as 20 km to get to the nearest polling station.

Mr Siamukumba has, however, appealed to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to consider increasing the numbers of polling stations in Namuswa ward to enable people exercise their right to vote.

“Civic education is very low in this area and as such other people will opt not to walk a long distance to the nearest polling station to cast their vote especially that it is rainy season,” he said.

Mr Siamukumba, who is also the Choma District Freedom Fighters Association Chairman, said there is need for ECZ to consider establishing polling stations within a distance of 5 km.

He said the long distances between polling stations will more especially affect pregnant women who cannot walk distances of over 15 kms but have the right to vote.

Mr Siamukumba said there is need for the ECZ to ensure that voter education activities begin on time in rural areas to help people appreciate the importance of voting.

He said for the 2016 general elections the ECZ should consider starting the voter education exercise about three months prior to the elections date.