A team comprising Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officials, political party representatives, Zambian security wings and other stakeholders has arrived in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (U.AE.) and started proof reading details on the ballot papers for the August 11, 2016 general election and the referendum.
And Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company, which has been contracted by ECZ to print ballot papers for the presidential, national assembly, mayoral, council chairpersonship, councillors and referendum elections, has declared that it is ready to start the printing process.
ECZ Commissioners Christopher Mushabati and Emily Sikazwe urged the team from Zambia to work diligently to the satisfaction of the Zambian people whom they are representing in Dubai.
Justice Mushabati urged the team members to devote their time to the important duty in Dubai so that all is done in a satisfactory manner.
He said the team was sent to Dubai to observe the printing of ballot papers on behalf of all Zambians.
Justice Mushabati advised the team to be ready to work long and awkward hours during the printing period.
He has since warned of punitive action again any member of the team who will default more than three times during the period in Dubai.
“If you default for more than three times, we will have to send you back to Zambia and you will have to account for the imprest,” he said.
And Dr. Sikazwe has implored the team to work as a united force towards achieving one goal for the Zambian people.
“We are team Zambia and so we are expected to work as representatives of the people of Zambia,” she said.
Meanwhile, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company General Manager Lakshmanan Ganapathy said his company was ready to start the printing process as soon as the proof reading of the details on ballot papers is completed.
Mr. Lakshmanan said the company has dedicated the whole month of July to the printing of ballot papers for the forthcoming Zambian elections.
He explained that templates for all ballot papers were ready for proof reading by relevant authorities adding that printing can take two weeks and another week for packaging the ballot papers.
And Mr. Lakshmanan said Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing, which was established in 1978, has a track record of printing ballot papers for elections in many countries in the Africa, the Middle East and other regions
Some of the countries that had their ballot papers printed by Al Ghurair are Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Uganda, Haiti, Madagascar, and Guinea Conakry.
He however explained that company did not print presidential ballot papers for the recent elections in Uganda saying it only printed for district chairpersonship, mayoral and local government elections. Other ballot papers for the recent Ugandan elections were printed in the United Kingdom, South Africa and in Uganda itself.
Mr. Lakshmanan said none of the 12 countries whose ballot papers have been printed by Al Ghurair in the past ten years has ever raised dissatisfaction over the professionalism of the company and the quality of the papers.
He said the quality of the paper used to print ballot papers the company has printed in the last 26 ballot paper printing projects cannot lose any markings on it if the normal ink is used on it.
This therefore dispels the fears which some sections of Zambians had insinuating that the quality of some ballot papers was that which can fade a few hours after being marked with normal ink.
The 2016 general elections are contested by nine political parties namely Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND), Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), United National Independence Party (UNIP), Green party, Democratic Assembly (DA) and the Rainbow party.
Others are United Progressive People’s (UPP) party and the People’s Alliance for Change (PAC).
The presidential candidates are Edgar Lungu of PF, Hakainde Hichilema of UPND, Tilyenji Kaunda of UNIP, Winter Kabimba of the Rainbow party, Green party’s Peter Sinkamba and Edith Nawakwi of FDD.
Other of Saviour Chishimba of UPP, Andyford Banda of PAC and Maxwell Mwamba of the DA.