OUR VOTING CULTURE HAS BEEN PATHETIC – SIANGA
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
THE culture of voting in Zambia needs to change if we are to produce caring and focused members of parliament, says Namakau Sianga.
She argues that voting behaviour in Zambia has been pathetic.
The losing Livingsone PF parliamentary candidate in the August 2021 elections, Sianga said most members of parliament have changed cell phone numbers to avoid talking to their masters, “the electorate”.
“The culture of voting in Zambia needs to change if we are to produce caring and focused MPs who would work for their constitutencies in the country.
As things stand we will continue to vote for MPs who do not answer phone calls and are absentee landlords and the people in their respective constitutencies will continue to be community orphans,” Sianga said.
She said it was “so sad most that members of parliament have stopped answering phone calls” from constituents.
“Adding salt to this some MPs have even changed their sim cards and acquired different numbers. All this done in an effort to avoid talking to their members from their constitutencies,” Sianga said.
“The challenge we have to deal with as a country is to change the voting culture we have attached to elections by behaviour which is to perceive elections as a ceremony and seasonal fanfare event. In fact coupled to this generally we are often misled with the election famous concept of saying ‘vote wisely’ which has turned out to be giving us wrong and uncaring legislators who abandon the community once elected.”
She urged Zambians to rethink the culture of elections especially voting pattern because in most cases they are left disappointed.
“This culture is among us people and its up to us to begin talking about the adverse effects of it and then start revolutionalising it going forward so that things could improve.
However, for now the people who voted for the alleged absentee MPs countrywide will only have themselves to blame and involuntarily endure the adverse consequences until 2026 when they will again be accorded the opportunity to decide through the ballot,” Sianga said.
“This time therefore calls for deeper reflection and begin discussing the status of culture of voting so that we equip ourselves with better understanding of the realities and discourse towards changing for the better.
In short when we accept now that our culture of voting has been pathetic and that’s the reasons why we have produced absentee MPs then come 2026 we are destined for a different situation and most of these MPs even if they force their way into being adopted the voters who are in the majority would still teach them a bitter lesson of not voting for them or rejecting them through the ballot.”
She added that: “the election terminology of saying vote wisely has caused deception in the minds of majority voters and it continues to thrive as a culture of misleading voters”.