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Zambia: Electoral Commission partners with mobile operators

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 02 Mar 2016

Zambia: Electoral Commission partners with mobile operators

Zambia's elections body, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has partnered MTN Zambia, Airtel Zambia and the Zambia Telecommunications Company to enable voters to verify their registration status through short messaging system (SMS) facility.

This is the first time that voters in the Southern African country can use the text messaging system to verify their registration status.

ECZ Chairperson Judge Essau Chuulu confirmed that as of May this year all voters will be able to use the verification service and added that users have to comply with the law and complete the process within seven days.

The country's ICT regulator, Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) has said it is not part of the agreement.

Industry stakeholders have questioned the regulator's involvement in the August 2016 general elections and have expressed concern over possible manipulation.

However, ZICTA Public Relations Manager Ngabo Nankonde said the Authority has nothing to do with the development or management of any mechanism for transmission of election results.

She said the mobile phone service providers are the custodians of their respective subscriber databases and ZICTA does not own any communication network platform for voice and SMS.

Nankonde added that the Authority has no role to play in the forthcoming elections, apart from ensuring quality of service for both mobile and data infrastructure. This is because it will impact on the efficient dissemination of information by stakeholders before, during and after the elections.

"To this effect, the voters' register verification done through SMS is based on a commercial arrangement between mobile service providers and their respective clients. The authority is not privy to such arrangements but only grants approval of the short code for businesses to use mobile platforms for marketing purposes and information dissemination," Nankonde said.

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