Works and Supply Minister Felix Mutati says government will save US$ 7 million by printing ballot papers for the 2021 general elections locally.
Mr. Mutati told Journalists that domestic printing of ballots will help the government save a lot of money used to print the papers outside the country and there is no need to be sceptical on the decision.
Mr Mutati disclosed that K5.6 million has so far been released for recapitalising Government Printers.
He says there is need to focus on the viability and sustainability of the Government Printers.
Mr Mutati says the goal of printing ballot papers locally is a component of what the Government Printers needs to do.
He said Government Printers can begin to contribute to the treasury once revived.
Last month, President Edgar Lungu announced that Government Printers has the capacity to print ballot papers and he will ensure the local printing of ballots for the upcoming general elections.
But the opposition UPND has maintained that the PF can’t be trust to print ballot papers locally.
UPND Chairperson for Elections and Mobilisation Sylvia Masebo said from past experience, the PF cannot be trusted with printing of ballot papers in Zambia because there is no distinct and visible independence of Government from the Party.
Ms. Masebo said this means all Government departments are compromised and answer to the whims of the PF as a political party.
“Currently the Country is governed without the tenets of democracy and the respect for the rule of law. This cannot therefore instil any confidence in the electoral process and the likehood of conflict and dispute is ever present if due respect for consensus and consultation for all stakeholders is not observed by the PF,” Ms. Masebo observed.
She said the last electoral process was messy with the voters’ registration riddled with so many flaws and inclusions of foreigners who had been issued with NRC’s and voters’ cards to enable Lungu win the election by hook or by crook.
“According to the International corruption index, the levels of corruption in Zambia have increased. Amnesty International have also indicated a worsening trend of political intolerance and gross abuse of human rights by the PF. How can then such a corrupt and intolerant Government grant itself the responsibility of printing ballot papers?”
She said the case of printing of ballot papers is a very serious election issue that requires wide and exhaustive consultations of all stakeholders.
“The UPND and the people of Zambia will do all within its power to ensure the next election will be free, fair, credible and devoid of any intimidation. We will not allow the PF hijack and rig the process like they did in the last election and we will not allow the printing of ballot papers by a Government that is riddled with corruption and has no regard for dissenting views,” she said.