ZEIC On The Referendum
Lusaka, 05 July 2016:
The Council of Elders of the Zambia Elections Information Centre (ZEIC) is concerned that people still do not understand the Referendum, why it is coming and how they will participate in it.
Our citizens’ platforms are showing that there are still a lot of misunderstandings on what voting in the Referendum entails, and some citizens appear to confuse the referendum with partisan elections. What is making us even more concerned is that the referendum issue does not feature so prominently in the campaign messages of different politicians.
Regrettably, there has not been much voter education to sensitize citizens on their participation in the referendum, and why they should vote for or against the referendum question. As different parties and candidates intensify their campaigns, we appeal to them to carry along the message of the referendum in their campaigns for the 11 August 2016 elections. We encourage politicians to spare some time during their campaigns to talk about the referendum, and to desist from misinforming voters that those who vote Yes are for a certain party and those who vote No are also for a certain party.
The ZEIC regularly receives information from citizens on their thoughts and concerns around various issues. Through the various ZEIC platforms, ZEIC has received citizens’ views on the Referendum Process and the contents of the Bill of Rights. By so doing, we hope to contribute to increased citizens’ participation in the process. The ZEIC is also partnering with its stakeholders such as the Law Association of Zambia to conduct public debates on the Referendum and the Bill of Rights.
It is our hope as a Council of Elders that within the next few weeks, campaign messages will amplify the issues of the Referendum on the Bill of Rights to enable voters to participate from an informed position.
Issued by Fr. Leonard Chiti
Chairperson of the ZEIC Council of Elders