An official of Zambia’s electoral commission says political parties and other stakeholders are monitoring the printing of ballot papers for the September 20 general elections. Chris Akafuna, spokesman for the electoral body, also called on Zambians to develop what he calls trust and interest in the electoral process ahead of the vote.
Akafuna said the electoral commission has implemented measures to ensure transparent, free and fair elections. “Apart from political parties,” he said, “we have representatives of civil society, the church, and law enforcement agencies monitoring the process.”
Some opposition political parties have questioned the printing of the ballot papers in South Africa. They also accuse the electoral commission of bias, while expressing concern that the September 20 vote could be rigged in favor of President Rupiah Banda’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD). But, Akafuna rejects the accusations as unfounded. “Whatever the commission does is based on the provisions of the law,” said Akafuna. “We follow procurement processes according to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority and we seek their clearance, before we go ahead [with] any procurement, and that is what we did even in this case,” said Akafuna.
He also said that the electoral body is prepared for the upcoming vote, in spite of criticisms from some opposition parties and civil society groups. “We have made very good progress, and we are just getting ready to finally get all these materials back home for the election,” said Akafuna.
He said stakeholders will witness the transport of the printed ballot papers to Zambia. “When the process is complete, the political parties will be present to see it off. And when the materials arrive in Lusaka, the political parties will be invited [to witness it]. What will then follow is that they will go through the ballot papers with our officers, and then we start distribution to all the districts,” said Akafuna.