The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has dismissed allegations by United Party for National Development (UPND) Presidential Spokesperson, Anthony Bwalya that some ballot papers for Lusaka District had gone missing
Mr has been quoted as saying that it was unacceptable, that a few days to Zambia’s landmark election, there are already signs of electoral malpractice even before the first vote has been cast.
However, ECZ said that its schedule of distribution of ballot papers countrywide indicates that ballot papers for Lusaka District will be distributed on 9th August 2021, contrary to the opposition UPND’s assertions that some ballot papers for Lusaka district have gone missing while being distributed to the Lusaka Civic Centre.
Lusaka District Electoral Officer, Alex Mwansa said that such incidences have the potential to generate public anger and discontent and can potentially throw the election into turmoil.
Mr Mwansa said that in the first place the video which has gone viral allegedly showing missing ballot papers was not captured at Lusaka Civic Centre, adding that Lusaka has not yet received its ballot papers as this will only take place on the 9th August, 2021 for all the seven constituencies in the city.
Mr. Mwansa has since discredited the UPND allegations.
Meanwhile other districts have started receiving ballot papers
In Lusangazi, ballot papers for the August 12, general elections have arrived in Msanzala constituency in Lusangazi district, Eastern Province.
Lusangazi district Electoral Officer, Justin Mbashila has confirmed the development to ZANIS today, saying the ballot papers were received last night at the council offices.
Mr Mbashila revealed that the ballot papers received are for the four elections, namely Presidential, Parliamentary, Council Chairperson and Local government elections.
He however said that ballot papers for the Council Chairperson election in Msanzala constituency will not be used, following the election cancellation made after the death of Patriotic Front Lusangazi Council Chairperson aspiring candidate, William Banda, last month.
The district Electoral Officer added that other non-security materials such as ballot boxes have also been received in Msanzala.
And takeholders in Nalolo district, Western Province have received ballot papers, ahead of the forthcoming general elections, slated for August 12, 2021.
Nalolo district Electoral Officer Imuwana Mwanamwalye has disclosed that the ballot papers received are for all the 65 polling stations in Nalolo constituency.
“We have received ballot papers for all the 65 polling stations in Nalolo constituency and these are for presidential, parliamentary, Council Chairperson and Local government elections,” he said.
Mr Mwanamwalye commended the stakeholders from different political parties that turned up to witness the arrival of the ballot papers, and also applauded them for being peaceful during the process.
Among the stakeholders that were on hand to witness the arrival of the ballot papers were representatives from the Zambia Police, Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Party for National Unity and Progress (PNUP).
And a representative from the UPND Wamunyima Ngenda said his party will monitor the ballot papers that are being guarded by the Zambia Police until the day they will be dispatched to the various polling stations.
“We shall monitor the ballot papers until the time they will be dispatched to the various polling stations so that we create transparency in the entire process,” Mr Ngenda pointed out.
The ballot papers are currently being kept at Nalolo District Council under the tight security provided by the Zambia Police awaiting distribution to the various polling stations across the district.
And Isoka district in Muchinga Province has received ballot papers ahead of next week’s general elections.
Isoka District Electoral Officer Judith Mukwita told ZANIS in an interview that the ballot papers were received at the Civic Centre at around 20:00 hours on Thursday.
Ms Mukwita noted that the arrival of the ballot papers was witnessed by various stakeholders, who included representatives of various political parties contesting in the general election.
She says the commission has put in place security measures, including a 24 hour military guard.
Meanwhile, Political parties have commended ECZ for the transparent manner in which the commission is handling the ballot papers, since the commencement of the printing process in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Socialist Party aspiring candidate for Isoka constituency Juliet Nalwimba noted that the commission has so far exhibited transparency in the preparations, drumming up to next week’s elections.
And Democratic Party, Isoka constituency aspiring parliamentary candidate Patricia McKenzie said she was confident that the commission will conduct a free, fair and credible election.
Zambia goes to the polls on August 12th, 2021.