The Electoral Commission of Zambia has admitted that some of the ballot papers in polling stations do not have the official ECZ stamp.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Priscilla Isaac told a media briefing at the results centre at Mulungushi International Conference Centre that the issue of unstamped ballot papers is real.
Ms. Isaacs said the Commission will take it up with the supplier of the ballot papers, Dubai firm Al Ghurair Printing Limited.
She said the Commission has now communicated to all elections officials to use ink pads and markers and write the word official at the back of the ballot papers to validate the papers and minimise the number of rejected ballots.
“Ink that goes with official stamps is not up to standard. It is faint. We will take it up with the supplier and also provide alternative ink pads where possible,” Ms Isaac said.
She added, “The Commission wishes to bring to the attention of the public that it is aware of the fading or invisible official marks. The poll staff have been advised to write official at the back of each ballot paper. The Commission will also provide ink-pads to be used in nearby polling stations.”
And Mrs Isaac says the Commission is disappointed that some unruly voters have ignored the order from the Commission to post their marked ballot papers on social media.
She said the use of cellphones inside polling station is a breach of the Electoral Regulations and that anyone found doing so will be prosecuted.
started posting their marked ballot papers on social media after leaving the polling stations.
“The Commission has observed with dismay photos of marked ballot papers in Polling booths being posted on various online and social media platforms. The Commission would like to caution members of the public to desist from such actions that would compromise the secrecy of the ballot,” she said.
“I would to appeal to all Polling staff and Security Officers in the Polling Stations to stop voters from using mobile phones in the Polling Stations as this is contrary to the Electoral Regulations. The Commission would like to appeal to members of the public that the information circulating on social media that there will be different days of voting for various Political parties is completely false and should be ignored.”
She also dispelled reports that the election calendar has been truncated with the UPND and FDD voting today whilst the PF supporters will vote tomorrow to avoid violent clashes.
Ms Isaac said there is no such ruling from the Constitutional Court adding that the reports are merely falsehoods.
And Meanwhile, Police have revealed that reports indicating that PF Serenje Parliamentary candidate Philip Kosamu has been arrested for alleged vote burying are false.
Police Spokesman Rae Hamoonga said there has been no candidate who has been arrested today.
“The Zambia Police Service would like to dispel rumours going round that Serenje Central Patriotic Front aspiring candidate Phillip Kosamu has been arrested by police for vote buying,” Mr Hamoonga said.
And Ms. Isaac said over 85% of Poll staff and election materials were successfully distributed to the various Polling Stations throughout the country by 24.00hrs.
She said most of Polling Stations had opened on time today.
“The following Polling Stations were expected to open late due to terrain challenges which delayed the transportation of materials in Nalolo district’s Silowana Ward, Yamakumba and Shekela Wards including in Sioma district’s Liandamo Ward and Mbume Ward,” she said.
She said these polling stations were expected to open at 10:30hrs adding that these polling stations which opened late will be compensated for the lost time.
And the Commission has disclosed that voting in Kanyala and Mpungu Ward in Isoka Constituency and Miengwe Ward in Kafulafuta Constituency including Mumbwe Ward in Chipili has been postponed after candidate’s details were transposed between the two wards.
Voting has also been postponed in Keembe Ward in Keembe Constituency after portraits of candidates were transposed on the ballot paper.
Ms Isaac said the Commission communicate a future date for holding these elections.
Ms. Isaac said the Commission is happy that there is a good turnout at the various Polling Stations and that the voting environment is calm and peaceful.
“I would therefore like to encourage those who have not yet voted to go and cast their votes before 18.00hrs when Polling closes” she said.