Political parties in Zambia have been called upon to trust and have confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as a body mandated to handle and manage elections.
ECZ Vice-Chairperson Emily Sikazwe has observed that the tendency by political parties to raise suspicions on the electoral process makes the commission’s work difficult.
Dr. Sikazwe made the remarks yesterday at Al Ghurair Publishing and Printing Company in Dubai when the firm showed stakeholders how each box meant for a constituency will be packaged together with its contents.
The box, according to the company, will each contain a booklet of ballot papers for presidential, parliamentary, council chairperson, local government candidates, results announcing form known as GEN 20, braille jacket, voter list, voter register, and posters in different languages depending on the area.
She warned that the commission will not take kindly to any political parties that photocopy the GEN 20 form and write fake results and later confront the ECZ staff that the results they had, were different from theirs.
The ECZ Vice-Chairperson cited a 2016 incident where some political parties would photocopy the same form and put false results, a situation she said caused confusion.
Dr. Sikazwe stated that the commission has since added a security feature of an ECZ hologram on each GEN 20 form saying these will only be given to monitors and observers after results are declared and signed by the presiding officer at each polling station.
She further informed the stakeholders that the packaging of boxes containing electoral materials is always sealed when transported from the company but is opened and has the seal broken in Lusaka for verification purposes before reaching districts.
Dr. Sikazwe said it was very important that political parties explain to their officials at district and ward levels all procedures involved when it comes to securing voting materials.
“We have experiences where cadres hijack our tracks carrying materials. Our staff are harassed in all manner and eventually are forced to unseal the boxes,” she said.
She has since called on the political parties to engage ECZ in continuous dialogue so that the commission works in the best way it can.
The company, currently printing the ballot papers, says all the 12,152 polling stations will each have a box packaged and may vary depending on the size.