All is set for the production of ballot papers for the 2021 August general election by the Dubai-based Al Ghurair Printing and publishing Company, the firm engaged by the Electoral Commission of Zambia -ECZ- for the works.
A team of officials led by ECZ Vice Chairperson, Emily Sikazwe was briefed today by the company whose capacity can manage to print 10 million ballot papers per day, that Al Ghurair is set for the task.
Company General Manager, Lakshmanan Ganapathy disclosed that the printing will first commence with local government ballot papers after they are verified in Zambia by another team, to be followed by the parliamentary and finally Presidential ballot paper.
Mr. Ganapathy told the Dr Sikazwe -led team that his company is happy that the ECZ has accorded it another opportunity to print this year’s general election ballot papers, the first one being for the 2016 elections.
He disclosed that the company has since expanded its printing machines to 14 from the 11 ones it previously had, adding that the company desires to deliver quality works.
The General Manager expressed optimism that the company will finish printing the ballot papers, package and airlift them to Zambia in record time by the end of July before polls are held.
And ECZ Vice Chairperson, Emily Sikazwe reiterated that the commission is up to the task to deliver credible elections this year.
She said the presence of her delegation in the United Arab Emirates is to ensure it sees the printing process from start to finish in readiness for this year’s general election.
Dr Sikazwe said she was optimistic that ECZ will not relent in its duty of ensuring that expectations of Zambians are met.
She implored the Zambian team comprising of representatives from civil society organisations, security, home affairs, anti-corruption commission, the media and political parties to apply themselves and work beyond normal working hours so that the process of production of the election materials is successfully completed.
The Vice Chairperson said commission has also set up another team of 16 political parties who are verifying details of candidates and proofreading the ballot papers in Zambia before they are sent to the company for printing.
And as for the political parties wishing to travel and monitor the production of materials in Dubai, Dr Sikazwe indicated that three political parties and an independent candidate confirmed that they would sponsor representatives.
These are the ruling Patriotic Front represented by former Defense Minister, Davies Chama who is already in Dubai whilst the opposition United party for National Development -UPND- and People’s Alliance for Change -PAC- representatives are yet to arrive.
The other representative is being sponsored by Lumezi Aspiring independent candidate, Munir Zulu.