The Christian Churches Monitoring Group (CCMG) has described the successful printing of ballot papers by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) as an important factor which is key to good governance and quality of an election.
CCMG Steering Committee Chairperson Emmanuel Chikoya told journalists in Dubai today that the quality of ballot papers printed by Al Ghurair Printing Factory was impressive.
Father Chikoya said CCMG is happy that it was part of the team which monitored the whole ballot paper printing process up to now when they are being transported to Zambia from the United Arab Emirate country.
He said ECZ’s decision to invite various stakeholders to monitor and witness the printing process in Dubai demonstrates commitment by the electoral body to be transparent in handling the electoral process.
He noted that Al Ghurair Printing Factory has the capacity, equipment and professionalism hence it managed to undertake the task without undue challenges.
Fr. Chikoya has since commended the commission and the printer for executing this part of the electoral process and expressed optimism that the elections will equally be managed well.
And Non-Governmental Organization Coordination Council (NGOCC) Executive Director, Engwase Mwale said it was happy that the organisation was able to represent the women’s movement in observing the printing process as elections are an important dispensation of democracy and practice of human rights.
She said the process was transparent, inclusive and participatory, and was gratifying that the printing company had met its objectives of having produced the ballot papers on time and are now being delivered.
Ms. Mwale however pointed out that Zambians should ensure that they exercise their constitutional right by turning up in numbers to cast their vote on August 12, 2021.
“Voting is exercising that important civil and political right to ensure that we bring on board a team of women and men that will lead Zambia in the next five years. So, it is up to us fellow Zambians and more so for the women to use the opportunity to have their voices heard,” Ms. Mwale said.
And Patriotic Front (PF) Deputy National Chairperson Davies Chama, commended the process saying despite the delay in commencing the printing, the company managed to beat the deadline of completing the job.
Mr. Chama said as far as the PF was concerned, the company was credible as it demonstrated through completing the printing of the ballot papers on time and the dispatching of the same, which is underway.
But United Party for National Development (UPND) representative Richard Njolomba stated that despite the printer having been transparent and professional, it did not mean that the elections will be held in a free and fair environment.
Mr. Njolomba said the opposition party and its alliance members still viewed the elections process as a different ballgame but indicated that they were happy with the printing and distribution process, describing it as credible.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) said the dispatch of ballot papers is on schedule and progressing well.
ECZ Chief Electoral Officer, Patrick Nshindano, said the first flight yesterday successfully delivered ballot papers for 40 constituencies to Zambia adding that two flights were heading to Zambia today to deliver another consignment of the papers.
Mr. Nshindano said of the two flights, one is carrying 90 pallets for 38 constituencies and the other one, 91 pallets for the 31 constituencies respectively.
He said the last flight will carry 89 pallets for 47 constituencies tomorrow.
Mr. Nshindano revealed that the commission has since distributed a pallet loading checklist and serial numbers which contain the different election materials in the ballot boxes.
He said it was important to check the serial numbers for respective constituencies and pallet boxes that have been loaded.
He said this is the first step in the verification process before distributing them to districts and polling stations.
Mr. Nshindano has since urged the stakeholders to ensure that they share the information on the importance of cross-checking serial numbers and lists with their colleagues that are receiving the ballot papers at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka.
He has meanwhile thanked the stakeholders for their continued collaboration with the commission in ensuring that the electoral process is credible.