Find Means Of Monitoring Ballot Paper Printing Instead Of Complaining-SACCORD

Offloading of ballot papers from the cargo plane and loading onto ECZ trucks for the 2016 general elections at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport
Offloading of ballot papers from the cargo plane and loading onto ECZ trucks for the 2016 general elections at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport

The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has advised political parties to be proactive in finding other means of sponsoring their own observers if the Electoral Body, the ECZ, maintains its stance not to sponsor any political party observers during the printing of ballot papers for the 2020 polls.

And SACCORD has commended the ECZ for proactively informing the nation on the status of printing ballot papers in Dubai.

In a statement issued to the media SACCORD Executive Director Boniface Cheembe said it would be prudent for political parties to start strategizing on how to send their observers to be Dubai as opposed to issuing statements and complaining.

Mr Cheembe was however quick to advise ECZ that it should ensure that no political party regardless of status ruling or opposition should use government resources to travel to Dubai for ballot paper inspection if it maintains its stance on the matter.

“A related issue to printing of ballot papers abroad is that of monitoring or observing the ballot paper printing process. The ECZ has maintained that they will not sponsor political parties to travel abroad to monitor or observe this process because the austerity measures make it difficult for them to facilitate such a process. In view of this development, SACCORD would want to advance two recommendations to both the political stakeholders and the ECZ.
To political stakeholders, it would be prudent to take proactive measures of ensuring that some planning or preparations of putting in place measures to support their own observers/monitors for this important process are in place should the ECZ not be convinced by stakeholders to change their position.

“To the ECZ, should this position be maintained it is paramount that it is implemented fairly across the board irrespective of political affiliation in the interest of peace and unity. In other words, the ECZ must ensure that both the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and opposition political parties do not use government money to send their representatives to monitor/observe the printing of ballot papers but instead all of them use their own resources should they decide to send representatives. This would be the fair and just thing to do should the decision by the ECZ not to support political parties be upheld,” he said.

And Mr Cheembe said the move by ECZ to announce that ballot papers would be printed in Dubai was timely as stakeholders had expected the ballots would be printed locally but that there was little or no information on how far government printers had gone with the preparation.

“Prior to this announcement, the nation had been anticipating that ballot papers would be printed domestically, and it was expected that government printers would inform the nation on the state of preparedness for the huge task ahead, but this update has either been thin or absent. This has left many stakeholders to wonder whether government printers have managed to develop and strengthen their technical and security capacity to print ballot papers for an election so important as the 2021 general elections.

“The ever suspicious and competitive political environment that Zambia has requires a tested and proven credible track record of ballot paper printing that will build stakeholder confidence. Zambia has printed ballot papers in various cities and countries abroad, including Dubai, largely on account of the track record of the companies,” he said.

He added “all the ballot papers for the by-elections that the country has held since 2016 have been printed abroad, largely in Dubai. Therefore, if the government printers does not inform the nation on its readiness to print ballot papers domestically, considering that this has not been done for by-elections, the country may need to settle printing ballot papers for the 2021 elections abroad in a country that the ECZ and stakeholders may settle for, including Dubai,” he said.


  1. ECZ should consult stake holders and agree where ballots are going to be printed as has always been done in the past. Why should it be non negotiable now. We do not want to go the Malawian way to have election results contested. Possible sources of disputes should be resolved now.

  2. Way forward-political parties should not be egotistic single individual entities but a conglomerate of ideologies where new players join existing parties and help them grow and raise sufficient funds for such ventures.

  3. Exactly. Let them use their initiative. How do you claim you don’t recognize lungus government and then also ask the same government to pay for your cadres to go monitor ballot printing? That is a party expense. Why should we fund political insecurities? Kz

  4. Do you mean there are no companies in Zambia who can do this job Africa lets try to be serious for once this government of PF is useless and the opposition parties also are useless how can you allow the ECZ to make decisions like that just like that and you leave them.
    No printing of ballot papers in Dubai better South Africa if the ECZ has got no money why go far if you are broke what are you trying to hide no wonder Kaizer Zulu is so confident of winning they know what there up to in Dubai.
    We have noticed that the commission is so adamant on printing ballots from Dubai and determined not to sponsor observers, to the extent that the likes of ECZ acting chief executive officer Royd Katongo would even start making arrogant utterances like ‘sue us if you like.

  5. These things you are doing in Zambia remember the world is watching you and laughing at you try to be serious with the issues of the country one day you will put this country on fire we don’t want another Rwanda.

  6. The ECZ budget is largely sponsored by the EU, so it follows that the sponsors might have withdrawn from that aspect of the budget. Last time the horde of cadres and NGO idlers that traveled to witness the printing seemed to have been more on holiday and shopping spree than serious work. Zambia can’t afford to fund its own politics by 100% so it’s better we begin to look at ways of reducing the cost of our politics and that includes elections. We have had elections before whose ballots were printed at Government Printers and they were more credible. The election whose ballots were printed in Dubai was very disputed, so what purpose does it serve except to satisfy the ego of the players? Most of our politicians can’t intelligently justify their demands, some even talk about fading ink!

  7. The winner of 2021 presidential election is going to be the person that you have not even heard of.

    Seems current leading political parties leader ship puts first party interests, second Zambian interests, That must change. Put first Zambia interests, second political parties interest.

    And it ought to be acknowledged that the GRZ, supporting the interest of Zambia.

    Reframing the Issues and Taking Direction of the Nation.

  8. Imwe tu ma useless parties… just find your own money. Even you PF dont use GRZ money to send your cadres to Dubai..use your own money. Zambians are suffering and you want to waste money on useless cadres. We support ECZ period.

  9. Fair enough. I will sponsor Muliokela, Tickets and accommodation. Someone else can chip in for his pocket money. Anyone?

  10. Zambian politicians or is it political cadres. They have been crying for ECZ to be independent. When ECZ makes independent decisions they are accused of not consulting stakeholders. They are also asked to pay for political tourists to observe printing of ballot papers. Where judiciary is independent, the judge makes independent decisions based on available evidence and circumstances.

    By the way anyone who wants to print a book – go to China, Dubai, Malaysia or SA. Printing is cheaper and of high quality in these countries respectively.

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