Many may not voting in Mkaika

Some Katete residents who lost their  National Registration Cards (NRC) have expressed fear of being disenfranchised ahead of the September 5th, 2013 Mkaika Constituency By-elections.

The residents of   Vulamukoko and Chimtende area in Mkaika constituency says the long distances to the nearest NRC centers was forbidding  saying this will  only disenfranchise  Mkaika parliamentary by-elections.

ZANIS reports that the aggrieved residents  said this in an in separated interviews in Katete District, today.

Among them was Grace Mwale of Kanjala village of chief Mbango’mbe’s area  who said eligible voters  in the area  who had  lost their NRCs may not replace them  in time  for the by -elections due to the long distance to Katete Boma.

Mrs.  Mwale said that the cost attached to the replacement of the NRC’s  has forced most of them to fail to replace their cards adding that the cost of acquiring the card was high as most of them cannot afford.

“Transport cost to and from our village is K30.00, plus the K20.00 to get a police report and K 3. 00 for replacement, if added amounts to K 55. 00, just to get a card.

She  further said that the apathy which Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other stakeholder are complaining about,  can also be attributed to failure by people to replace their lost NRC due to the cost attached to it.

And Gloria Zulu of Chipopela village said there is need for government to deliberately put up  measures that will ensure people replace their NRCs each time there is a by- election in respective areas to ensure that eligible voters cast their votes.

Mrs. Zulu however, said that government should remove the K20. 00 fee charged by the police for one to get a police report.

And when contacted for a comment Home Affairs Deputy Minister Stephen Kampyongo said those who had the responsibility to sensitize the masses on the need to vote should have encouraged electorates to replace their cards.

Mr. Kampyongo stated that it was important for people in the constituency to replace their lost NRC’s so that they are eligible to vote and also that it is a requirement for a citizen above 16 years to have NRC.

He has however encouraged the electorate in the constituency to have their cards replaced adding that people should realize that it is their birth right to participate in the electoral process of the country by voting for a candidate of their choice.

The Mkaika by- elections  came about after David Phiri defected from the MMD to the ruling Patriotic Front.

Other candidates taking part in the by elections are National Restoration Party -NAREPs Nigel Mpakateni, the MMD is fielding Peter Phiri, while the UNIP candidate is Nelson Mwale.