5.2 million Zambians gear up to vote

04 May 2011

imageThe Associate Administrator discusses the right to vote with Community Radio. (Photo: UNDP)

Lusaka — On her first visit to Zambia, Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), called on 5.2 million registered voters to ensure they turn out on the day of the country’s upcoming general elections.

UNDP is managing US$21 million in funds to support the Electoral Commission of Zambia in its mandate, through, for example, introduction of biometric technology that has registered nearly 1.3 million new voters, and ensuring effective media monitoring, and voter education and inter-party dialogue to boost women’s electoral participation.

“The UN looks to Zambia to demonstrate a high standard in peaceful, free, fair and credible elections,” Ms. Grynspan said in the capital Lusaka where she discussed election preparations with the Electoral Commission’s Chair, Justice Irene Chirwa Mambilima.

Ms. Mambilima reiterated her commitment to an inclusive process: “The need for clear information to the public cannot be over-emphasized – on the right to vote, and especially information for women to make their own decisions when it comes to voting.”

The previous day in the southern city of Livingstone, Ms. Grynspan met with community leaders, representatives of the Human Rights Commission and radio stations that have been disseminating information on the right to vote and civic engagement in the democratic process.

“The challenge now is in validating the voters’ roll in the public domain, and also in ensuring that as many registered voters as possible, particularly women, turn out on election day,” said Ms. Grynspan whose three-day official visit also includes meetings with women’s groups, civil society and other partners, and visits to UNDP projects.

The UNDP-managed electoral support fund has received contributions from Canada, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the European Union, Finland, the Netherlands, and the United States Agency for International Development.

The exact date of the elections is still to be announced.