Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people of Northern Province has bemoaned the voter apathy that characterized the past three presidential elections in Zambia.
Paramount Chitimukula said the country recorded a voter apathy of 48.33 per cent in 2011, 68.64 per cent in 2015 and 43.55 in 2016 a trend he said was not good for democracy.
In a speech read for him by Lufwanyama District Education Board Secretary Mambe Hamududu during the launch of the Movement for Voter Sensitization (MVS) at Moba Hotel in Kitwe yesterday, Paramount Chief Chitimukulu said the movement has been formed to address the challenge of voter apathy by sensitising people countrywide to register as voters and turn to vote in big numbers in the 2021 general elections.
” If the challenge of voter apathy is not addressed, this will destroy the essence of Democracy which demands the rule of the majority,” paramount chief Chitimukulu observed.
The Mwine Lubemba who is also the patron of the newly formed voter sensitization non-governmental Organization said the movement will also sensitize people against making tribal remarks and political violence.
He said the NGO will further encouraged women and youths to participate in politics and to hold their civic leaders accountable.
He explained that the NGO will work in collaboration with the Electoral Commission of Zambia which is already conducting voter sensitization.
And senior Chief Madzimawe who represented Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people urged the New NGO to follow people even on social media so that they can be captured and participate in voting.
Chief Madzimawe noted that there are a lot of people who are active in political issues on social media but do not participate in actual voting.
And senior chief Kanongesha of the Lunda people of North-Western province said tribalism will not be entertained in his chiefdom urging all chiefs to embrace all political party leaders to campaign in their chiefdoms.
” There is no superior tribe in Zambia as we all fought for independence, if you deem one tribe superior, it means you are killing your nephews and nieces because you have intermarried, ” Senior Chief Kanongesha said.
Earlier, Chief Lumpuma of the Lamba people said women in his chiefdom think thank that they can only use their National Registration cards to get fertilizer under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and note for voting hence the need to sensitize them so that they can participate in voting.
Chief Lumpuma also called on the new NGO to discourage the ferrying of political cadres from urban areas to rural areas by political parties during campaigns to avoid political violence.
And Chief Chikanta of the Tonga people of Southern Province urged all chiefs in the country to support the NGO to ensure that all eligible voters obtain NRCs and voters cards so that they participate in next year’s elections.
And Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary Bright Nundwe who was the guest of honour at the launch of the NGO, said it would be costly for the country to hold a re-run if non of the presidential candidates manage to get the 50+ 1 votes threshold hence the need to sensitize people to register as voters now and turn in large numbers to vote.
” A re-run would mean that money that was supposed to go towards developmental programmes and social amenities goes towards funding the election,” Mr. Nundwe explained.
He also stressed that it was important to ensure that peace and Democracy are upheld as the country goes to the polls in 2021 because without peace the country cannot develop.
The Copperbelt Permanent Secretary also challenged the new NGO to reach all parts of his province as it was the second largest in terms of population after Lusaka.
The New NGO aimed at sensitizing people on registering as voters and participating in voting is comprised on traditional chiefs from across the country, civil servants, businessmen and members of the clergy among others.
And the launch of the Copperbelt chapter yesteday was attended by 10 chiefs among them Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, Paramount chief Mpezeni who was represented by senior chief Madzimawe, Senior Chief Kanongesha, chief Chikanta, Chief Lumpuma, Chieftainess Malembeka and chief Ndubeni.
Others are chief Kalunkumya, Chief Nkana and Shimukunami of the Lamba people.