Residents of Katayamatondo area in Chipangali District in Eastern Province are appealing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to consider giving them a polling station nearby to reduce long distances they cover to cast their vote
Several residents have petitioned government that they have been finding it difficult to walk 17 kilometres to Maziatuwa polling station to cast their vote whenever there is an election.
One of the residents, Joseph Zimba, complained that a lot of people in Katayamatondo were in the past elections disfranchised because they failed to walk the long distance to the nearest polling station to exercise their right to vote.
Speaking on behalf of other residents, Mr Zimba proposed that ECZ must consider making the Primary School at Katayamatondo a polling station especially that the population in the area has grown in terms of people who have reached the voting age.
“We have suffered for too long in this area when it comes to voting because the nearest polling station is over 17 kilometres,” he complained.
And when contacted for a comment, Chipangali District Electoral Officer (DEO), John Mwanza, disclosed that the creation of Chipangali as a district necessitated for a stakeholders’ meeting where two wards and 12 new polling stations were supposed to be added.
Mr Mwanza said the proposal to establish a polling station at Katayamatondo did not go through during the stakeholders’ meeting.
He said the Chipangali Ward Councillor, Kennedy Shimba, was aware of what transpired as he represented his ward during the stakeholders meeting.
“At the moment, for the purposes of 2021 elections, the place will have no polling station but will see if there will be high numbers during registration of voters maybe we can take the school as a polling stream,” Mr Mwanza said.
Mr Mwanza, who is also Chipangali Council Secretary, noted that during the meeting stakeholders gave two places to have polling stations and the places were Kapiliminyanga and Kadiula, but assured that his office will continue engaging them to see what could done in future.