Electoral Commission of Zambia Director Priscilla Isaac says no one has powers to instruct the Commission on where to print ballot papers.
Ms Isaac said the Commission makes independent decision as outlined in the Electoral Act and that not even the President of Zambia could direct the Commission on how to conduct its affairs.
She said the Commission has already made its decision to print ballot papers for the August election abroad because no local firm has the capacity to undertake the works.
Ms. Isaac revelations are contrary to what Vice President Inonge Wina said on Friday in Parliament that there was possibility that the Government Printers could print ballot papers for this year’s elections as its equipment is now being modernised.
The ECZ Director was speaking last night when she featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview television programme.
“The ECZ is independent and therefore does not take instructions from anyone. What kind of an institutions are we going to have if we took instructions from everyone because every stakeholder has something to say. All we do is work to ensure that we stick to the provisions of the law,” Ms Isaac said.
“It is like in a home. If the Head of the House makes decisions, is it in order that everyone in the House starts to oppose? What kind of a home can you have?”
She also disclosed that 13 firms were shortlisted for the tender to supply and deliver the ballot papers and other elections materials.
“We did everything according to the Zambia Public Procurement Act and the laws are clear. From the shortlisted firms, we came down to two and Alghurairi Printing & Publishing LLC of Dubai was recommended by the Commission for the tender and other firms who bid have up to Thursday this week to object or else we will proceed and award the tender to Alghurairi Printing,” she said.
Ms. Isaac said the Commission conducted due diligence and technical evaluations before recommending Alghurairi for the job.
“We did our due diligence and we found that this company is credible and does not have any court cases. It has not been sued in any country in any court of law and we are confident it could do the job and that is why we went ahead to recommend it.”
She said the accusations being levelled against the Commission from opposition political parties are expected and that she is personally not affected.
“Some of these people attacking us every day for not being independent are actually doing business with the Commission, maybe through their wives or companies associated with them. So they accuse the Commission today and tomorrow they come to the Commission to pick up a cheque signed by Priscilla Isaac. It’s the irony of this job.”