THE ballot papers for presidential and parliamentary elections for the February Ugandan general elections were printed by Ms Paarl Media a South Africa-based company contrary to claims by veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga that the key voting materials were printed by a Dubai-based Ms Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House.
Investigations by the Daily Nation have revealed that the Electoral Commission of Uganda had, in fact, contracted four companies including TALL Security Print Ltd of the United Kingdom, Ms Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House of the United Arab Emirates and Picfare Industries of Uganda to printing their voting materials.
Paarl Media, South African-based printing company was awarded the tender to print ballot papers for presidential, parliamentary and district women councillor.
It has been revealed that the other two companies, TALL Security Print Ltd of the UK and Picface Industries of Uganda printed ballots for district chairpersons, district directly-elected councillors and sub-county women councillors and municipality mayors, municipality councillors and special interest group councillors respectively.
The Daily Nation has established that Ms Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House of Dubai was never contracted to print presidential ballot papers for the presidential election in Uganda.
According to the findings by the Daily Nation, the first batch of ballot papers for the February 18th presidential and parliamentary elections arrived in that country in January from South Africa where they were printed.
Other companies that bidded for the printing of voting materials for the general elections in Uganda were another South Africa-based; Ren-From CC Printers and another UK-based company called Kalamazoo Secure Solutions, but did not win the tender.
Dr Mwaanga was yesterday quoted in the Post Newspaper alleging that some ballot papers printed by a Dubai-based company, Ms Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House were allegedly pre-marked.
Dr Mwaanga told the Post Newspaper that: “It is important that stakeholders verify this Dubai company. I challenge the stakeholders to verify because there are reports that it is the same company that printed ballot papers in Uganda.” Dr Mwaanga also claimed that the Ugandan presidential and parliamentary ballot papers allegedly printed by Ms Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House ended up in the wrong hands just before the elections amid allegations by the opposition in that country that the Government of President Yoweri Museveni kept printing additional ballot papers.
The veteran politician was quoted as having said: “Some of the ballots were pre-marked in favour of Museveni according to testimony which was presented in court when Museveni’s re-election was challenged by opposition parties. With this kind of reputation, why should ECZ (Electoral Commission of Zambia) be adamant to use a company whose reputation is already under the spotlight?”
And Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) director Priscilla Isaacs has said the commission will award the Dubai-based Company to print the ballot papers if other bidders would not object its decision.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, Ms Isaacs said the Commission had already expressed its intentions of awarding the contract to the company in Dubai.
Ms Isaacs said the tendering process was still ongoing as the commission was yet to settle for the best bidder.