The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has established Election Support Centres (ESCs) in all the 10 provinces of the country.
ECZ Spokesperson Cris Akufuna said the Centres, which he described as first of its kind in the electoral process in Zambia, will monitor activities and operations of polling stations as well as report incidences to the Commission headquarters in Lusaka.
Mr. Akufuna said the ESCs will act as links between the Commission and national results collection Centre at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, MICC.
The Election Support Centres will not be allowed to report directly to the national totalling centre at MICC but to the Commission headquarters.
Mr. Akufuna, who was flanked by Commission Senior Public Relations Officer Sylvia Bwalya and United Nations Development Programme Media and Communications Specialist Sylvia Namuju, disclosed this during a press briefing in Lusaka today .
Mr Akufuna said that the national results collection Centre, MICC will soon be officially launched by Commission Board Chairperson, Justice Esau Chulu.
“The Commission has established the Election Support Centres in all the 10 provinces of Zambia. The national result collection Centre is MICC and the official launch will be communicated to you members of the press at a date to be announced soon,” Mr. Akufuna said.
And Mr. Akufuna also disclosed that the Commission through its District Conflict Resolution Committee has received one case of electoral mal-practice in Kapoche constituency in Eastern Province but could not divulge further information on the nature of the electoral offense.
He further disclosed that accreditation for the media personnel wishing to cover the August 11, 2016 general election has been extended to August 9th.
Meanwhile, Mr. Akufuna disclosed that seven trucks carrying ballot papers and non-security election materials were dispatched to four provinces yesterday.
Mr. Akufuna named the provinces as Luapula, Muchinga, North-western and Western provinces.
He said deployment of Commission staff and materials commences on August 6th, 2016 to 117 polling stations.
Mr Akufuna further added that the delivery of ballot papers and election materials to all the district is expected to be completed by August 8, 2016.
The Commission Spokesperson said that the Electoral body has engaged Zambia Air Force (ZAF) helicopters to air-lift election materials to far flung areas that are inaccessible by road and airlifting of election materials commences on August 10.
Mr Akufuna announced that the national voters register for all participating presidential candidates is ready for collection at the Commission headquarters.
He advised political parties wishing to witness the dispatch of ballot papers and other election materials from the Commission warehouses in Silverest in Chongwe to do so before the exercise ends.
Mr Akufuna also revealed that ECZ and media heads and political parties agreed at a meeting that there should be balanced , fair and professional coverage to all participating political parties and that the media were advised to report professionally and continued dialogue between parties and media houses.
The ballot papers that were printed in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) by Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Company arrived in the country last week.
The nine political parties that are participating in this year’s polls are the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), United Party for National Development (UPND), United National Independence Party (UNIP), and the United People’s Progressive (UPP) party.
Other political parties are the People’s Alliance for Change (PAC), the Democratic Alliance (DA), Rainbow and Green Party.