26 June 2012

Zambia: State Followed Procedure On Ballot Paper Printing

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said the selection of a company to print ballot papers for the forthcoming by-elections was transparent and done through a normal tender procedure.

The commission has since challenged "doubting Thomases" to verify with relevant authorities the tender process which was publicly conducted.

The ECZ has set July 5, 2012 as the date for parliamentary by-elections for Muchinga, Chama North and Livingstone constituencies and a number of local government by-elections around the country.

The Muchinga seat fell vacant following the death of former vice-president George Kunda while the Chama North and Livingstone seats fell vacant after the High Court nullified them.

ECZ spokesperson Cris Akunfuna said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the selection of a London printer was based on the normal tender procedure of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA)

He said the commission had invited printing companies to bid for the printing of the ballot papers for the elections.

"The process to award the printers is a normal laid down procedure and all the requirements were given and published in the newspapers. The United Kingdom-based company, Smith and Ouzman met the conditions and it was awarded the contract," he said.

And Mr Akufuna has announced that the ballot papers for the three by-elections were expected in the country today.

He said once the ballot papers arrived, the commission would invite political parties participating in the elections to inspect them as per normal procedure.

Mr Akufuna urged political parties to report any unfair treatment that they may encounter during the campaign period in the three constituencies to the conflict management teams in the districts.

He said the conflict management team would review the complaints and act appropriately.

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