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ECZ voter registration period challenged

By GRACE CHAILE-LESOETSA
MICHAEL Zulu, and four others have sued the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in the Lusaka High Court seeking an order that the 30 days voters’ registration period it set is illegal.
The five also want the court to order ECZ to retake the decision that requires all already registered voters to participate in a process of voter validation.
This is according to an application for leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court by Mr Zulu, Mr Chama popularly known as Pilato, Mr Brian Bwembya (B-Flow) , Mr Nawa Sitali and Mr Muleta Kapatiso.
Other reliefs been sought by the applicants is a declaration that the said decisions are illegal, irrational and/or unreasonable and procedur-ally improper as they contravene Part II of the Electoral Process Act and Regulations 8,10,11 and 12 of the Electoral (registration of vot-ers( regulations statutory instrument no.38 of 2010.
If leave to apply is granted, the applicants want a direction that the hearing of the application for judicial review be expedited and such leave should operate as a stay of the decisions to require already registered voters to present themselves before a registration officer again or else be precluded and/or prevented from voting in the 2021 general elections.
Mr Zulu and others stated that ECZ intends discarding the register of voters and conducting an entire reregistration and new registration process within a period of one month, when the Electoral regulations, 2010 under regulation 8 provide that registration should be continuous.
They stated that discarding a register of voters and attempting to re-register voters within one month cannot be said to be compliant with the requirement for conducting continuous voter registration.
The applicants stated that the ECZ has acted unreasonably by its willful or negligent disregard of express statutory provisions under the pretext pf seeking to improve the voter integrity and taking into considerations extraneous factors cited in support of its decision.
They said this include the recommendations of local and international observers of the 2016 general elections , audit of the 2016 register of voters, implementation of the recommendations of the 2019 delimitation exercise which have no force of law , improved biometric pro-cessing through capture of additional information such as 10 fingerprints which capture additional information.

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