Suspicion arose during the receipt of the final batch of ballot papers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport when some private cargo was offloaded from the same Emirates Sky Cargo aircraft carrying the last batch of ballot papers.
Representatives from political parties such as People’s Alliance for Change, Leadership Movement, and United Party for National Party among others, demanded that the private luggage be opened so as to check what was inside.
Few minutes later, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) officers authorized the opening of the private cargo in the full view of political party stakeholders, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) officials, journalists and the Zambia police.
It was then discovered that the private cargo contained phone accessories, batteries and motors among other gadgets.
Leadership Movement Media Director Tatila Tatila, who spoke on behalf of the seemingly unhappy stakeholders from political parties, charged that their desire was to have the private consignment be in the custody of ECZ until after August 12, 2021.
“As stakeholders, we remain resolute to know how and why private cargo was packed together with election materials and who authorized the undertaking. We also ask the ECZ to keep the private batch until after voting, that is our wish,” Mr. Tatila stated.
On the other hand, a Clearing Agent for the private cargo in question, Yoram Chanda, clarified that the consignment contained phone accessories and all querries pertaining to how they were found on the plane carrying ballots should be directed to the airliner.
And when asked by Journalist to comment on the matter, ECZ Senior Public Relations Officer Sylvia Bwalya emphasized that what was important was that all stakeholders witnessed the arrival of the final consignment.
On the private cargo, Ms. Bwalya explained that the commission will take up the issue with the airliner to ascertain how the private luggage was found on the plane that was chartered by ECZ to carry election materials.
With election materials for all the 156 constituencies arriving in the country, stakeholders remain optimistic to be part of the verification process tomorrow and then wait for the actual day of voting on August 12, 2021.
Meanwhile, Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Senior Public Relations Officer Sylvia Bwalya has announced that all the ballot papers for the 156 constituencies are now in the country.
Ms. Bwalya declared the commission’s readiness to conduct the poll on August 12, adding that tomorrow Saturday, July 31, all stakeholders are invited to the verification exercise.
She pointed out that all eligible electorates should be ready to cast their votes on the day of elections while observing five golden rules aimed at curbing the further spread of Covid-19.
The ECZ Senior Public Relations Officer hailed all the stakeholders that have worked tirelessly with the commission from the printing process to the storage of ballot papers at Chongwe’s Silverest area.
“This is the final batch of the ballot papers containing papers for 47 constituencies and we now have ballots for 156 constituencies. We would like to thank stakeholders that have been with us in Dubai during the printing, receiving and storage of ballots, we are so sure that we will be together tomorrow during the verification process,” she emphasized.