The United Party for National Development (UPND), have finally sent a representative to monitor the on-going printing of ballot papers for the August 12th general and presidential elections, currently underway in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.
Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Vice Chairperson, Emily Sikazwe confirmed the development today during a media briefing in Dubai.
ZANIS reports that the Commission Vice Chairperson has since received communication from the opposition political party in form of a notification letter that Linda Nkonde is already in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is expected to join the Zambian team in Dubai tomorrow (Wednesday).
Dr Sikazwe stated that it was relieving that the UPND representative will finally join the team, in verifying and approving the presidential candidate ballot proofs together with other members of the delegation, ahead of the printing process, which is expected to commence tomorrow.
She said the verifying of the presidential candidate ballot proofs was a very important part of the exercise and requires major stakeholders to avail themselves in the verification exercise, in collaboration with the commission.
Dr Sikazwe explained that it is in the commission’s best interest that the process of printing of the ballot papers is done in a transparent manner, and that all stakeholders fully participate.
And the commission has signed off the official printing of ballot papers for parliamentary candidates.
The process was signed off today by ECZ Vice Chairperson Emily Sikazwe at the Al Ghurair Publishing and Printing Company plant in Dubai and witnessed by stakeholders who included the civil society representatives, Patriotic Front (PF) Deputy National Chairperson Davis Chama, security wings, the media and ECZ staff.
Dr Sikazwe expressed happiness with the process, describing the printing progress as being on course.
And ECZ Director Electoral Operations Royd Katongo revealed that 108 verified ballots out of the 156 ballots for the parliamentary candidates have so far been received, while the remaining 48 are still being processed in Lusaka.
Mr Katongo explained that the process of verifying the ballot papers was at two levels, starting with the 16 political parties in Lusaka who are expected to check for correct names, colours, pictures and party symbols, after which, the ballot papers are proof read by the Zambian team stationed in Dubai, before being commissioned for printing.
Mr Katongo said printing of received ballot proofs for parliamentary candidates will continue, while the remaining ballots will be printed one they are received from Lusaka.
Meanwhile, AL Ghurair Company General Manager Lakshmanan Ganapathy indicated that the company expects to finish printing both the parliamentary and local government ballot papers by end of tomorrow (Wednesday) before commencing on the presidential candidates’ ballot proofs.
The printing of ballot papers has entered day two, with printing, packaging and airlifting of the finished products expected to be complete by the end of July, 2021.
ECZ has since assembled a delegation of civil society representatives, security wings, political parties and the media who are in Dubai monitoring the process of printing ballot papers up to the month end of July 2021 in readiness for the country’s elections.
Zambia is this year holding general elections slated for August 12, 2021.