Electoral Commission of Zambia Chairman Justice Essau Chulu has announced that Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company of Dubai will print the ballot papers for this August general elections.
Justice Chulu told a meeting of political stakeholders in Lusaka this morning that the decision to award the contract to the Dubai firm was arrived at after a re-evaluation of the 13 bid submitted to ECZ.
“Following the appeal and re-evaluation process for the tender of printing of ballot papers, the Commission has awarded the tender to print ballot papers to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company of Dubai, as per practice the Commission will sponsor one agent to witness the printing of ballot papers alongside other stakeholders,” Justice Chulu said.
And the announcement that the Dubai firm will print ballot papers drew angry reactions from political stakeholders who accused the ECZ of bleeding unnecessary tension in the nation.
FDD leader Edith Nawakwi said the stance taken by the Commission has the potential to cause anarchy in the nation.
“Zambia is at peace but your position is pushing us in a direction which we the Zambian people are totally uninterested. Can you for once, step backwards, step backwards and listen to the people. This is our country, it does not belong to the ECZ, it does not belong to Government,” Mrs Nawakwi said.
And UPND Chairperson for Legal Jack Mwiimbu accused the ECZ of facilitating the rigging of elections by the PF.
“We are aware of the celebration by other people concerning the printing of ballot papers in Dubai, we are aware of the evil intentions pertaining to the printing of ballot papers in Dubai. Mr Chairman, we as Honourable Nawakwi has indicated, we are the stakeholders and you must listen to our concerns.”
But Justice Chulu defended the decision to go ahead and award the tender to the Dubai saying stakeholders failed to provide evidence to show that the firm did not qualify.
Justice Chulu who became upset told off the stakeholders not to issue threats on individuals saying the decision was a collective one.
“We can’t throw tender procedures from tender or procurement act to do what u want. We are not trying to be intransigent,” Justice Chulu said.
“I take great exception to be addressed with disrespect. Let’s not encourage hate speech. Let’s not get on each other’s personality. That’s unacceptable. These people were challenged to take evidence of malpractice against the said company but brought nothing,” Justice Chulu said.
And Justice Chulu has announced that the Commission has formulated the referendum question which will be used in the referendum.
He disclosed that the referendum questions will be as follows, “Do you agree to the amendment to the Constitution to enhance the bill of rights contained in part 111 of the constitution of Zambia and to repeal and replace Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia”.
Justice Chulu said citizens will be expected to answer ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ by marking against symbols which will be provided adding that the symbol for the YES vote will be an eye and NO will be an ear.
Meanwhile, it was heard during the meeting that 47 forged certificates, three from universities with one from an overseas university were presented to the Examinations Council of Zambia for verification.
The Commission also revealed that eight political parties have so far paid down payments for the presidential nomination fees.