Maybe it’s time to make a law compelling citizens to vote-Lungu

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu

PRESIDENT Lungu says Government is concerned about the low voter turnout experienced in recent elections and is considering whether or not to make a law to compel citizens to vote.
And President Lungu says Government is considering attaching the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) to the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to make it more effective.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has reiterated that Government does not have resources to hold a national referendum but will ensure that the new constitution is delivered in accordance with the will of the people.
Speaking when he met chiefs from Southern Province at State House yesterday, President Lungu said Government is thinking through whether to make a law to compel people to vote.
“We are all affected and need to take this seriously,” he said.
He was responding to Chief Sinazongwe, who expressed concern over the low voter turnout in recent elections.
Mr Lungu said currently, there is no law which compels anyone to vote but Government does its part to ensure that voters are sensitised on the need to vote.

“We will think through on whether it would work to make it law to compel people to vote because this is of concern to all of us. But not everything has to be done through legislation,” he said.
Mr Lungu said the issue will be discussed with stakeholders to see how best voters can cast the ballot.
Mr Lungu also urged the chiefs to encourage their subjects to obtain national registration cards in the ongoing mobile issuance exercise to enable them to get voters’ cards and to vote.
“Encourage your subjects to obtain NRCs and to vote in all elections, it is also your role as chiefs,” he said.

President Lungu also appealed to the traditional leaders to reject tribalism and all those that advocate it.
He also urged traditional leaders to offer the best candidates in next year’s elections regardless of tribe.
Mr Lungu assured the chiefs that they will not hear of tribalism as long as he is head of state.
And Mr Lungu says ZNS has been doing very well when it comes to working on roads following the procurement of equipment.
“Previously, it did not have the capacity but now they have the equipment and they will be having more equipment in June. We want to be using the equipment to be working on the roads because they will respond quickly and are also disciplined,” he said.
He was responding to concerns by Chief Chikanta, who complained about the poor state of the roads in rural parts of Southern Province.
“Come next year, we will be talking of a different story because the entire road network would have been worked on,” Mr Lungu said.
Meanwhile, Mr Lungu said Government does not have the necessary resources to hold a national referendum but will deliver the new constitution according to the will of the people.

He said if people want the referendum, Government will have to give it to them but there are no resources for now.
“We have to be realistic, but if that is what the people want, we will give it to them,” Mr Lungu said.
He said if Parliament does not equally agree with some issues once they are taken there, another way has to be found to ensure that the constitution is delivered to the people.
He said Government will not force anything on the people but will give them what they want.
President Lungu also said there is need to involve chiefs in issues of governance because they are in touch with the people.
“If we involve chiefs in issues of governance, we can tackle a lot of issues that happen in the country like early marriages, deforestation, and other important aspects,” Mr Lungu said.
He also said Government is also working hard to supply food to all areas affected by hunger in the region.
And Chief Siachitema of Kalomo told President Lungu that he is welcome to Southern Province any time.

He said the people of Southern Province love President Lungu and want him to visit the area.
And Chief Macha invited Mr Lungu to Choma on October 15 this year to celebrate the provincial capital’s status as an open defecation-free area, which will also be global hand-washing day.
President Lungu promised to travel to the region on the said day and that he will always create time for the people.




    Your Excellency it may not be wise to enforce a law with regard to voting. There are many reasons why people do not turn out to vote and what we need to do is to take time and look at some of the reasons. People do not vote for some of the reasons below.
    1. They are let down by the very politicians they vote into power.
    There was a member of parliament in one of the African country who was seeking for a second term. He had never visited his constituency and when it was time for elections he decided to go and canvass for votes. He told the electorates that he had not been see as he was busy sorting out things. He told the people that he spent the first year sorting out his business, the second year was establishing his family, the third year was for his extended family and he only started addressing constituency problems in the fourth year and wish to continue during his second term. He further told the people that if they do not vote for him, the guy coming will start from where he started. This is the challenge we have in the Politics of Africa. Politicians in Africa will ensure that they make enough money that will sustain them for the rest of their lives. So how do you vote people who only want to make life for themselves. People choose rather to mind their business.
    2. Lack of credible serious opposition that can make a difference keeps people away from voting. Remember during the time of One party rule in this country, you had to choose between KK and a frog.
    3.People’s lives have never changed but politicians’ lives change. Just look at what happens to politicians who where living in compounds and renting all their life time. Once voted into power, they even get land and displace squatters who have lived there because of advantage.

    There are so many reasons which I could give if engaged. The problem is not the voters but those we vote. Let us come up with a law ro regulate those who stand as office bearers and you will see a change.

  2. Mr President, that may be a good move to encaurage citizens to vote but don’t you think making a law for it to be an offence for parents/guardians not sending their children/dependants to school? I think this is a priority compared to just voting

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