JOHANNESBURG – Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) vice-president Canisius Banda will be summoned for alleging that ballot papers meant to disadvantage his party were being printed, Electoral Commission of Zambia director Priscilla Isaacs has said.
Ms Isaacs said irresponsible statements by politicians have the potential to cause chaos as well as discourage people from voting.
She was speaking to journalists in Johannesburg yesterday.
Ms Isaacs said the ECZ would not take kindly to politicians issuing misleading statements to the nation.
“We have taken great exception to the statement by Dr Cansius Banda and as a commission we will soon summon him so that he can tell us his source of information.
“It is very disheartening for people to make misleading statements. And what they don’t know is that such statements can even work against them because they have the potential to discourage voters,” she said.
Ms Isaacs assured the nation that there would be no interference in the production and transportation of ballot papers from South Africa to Zambia in the course of next week.
She said to enhance transparency, the ECZ had allowed political parties to monitor the printing process in Johannesburg until the ballot papers were dispatched to the airport enroute to Lusaka while arrangements were already in place for other representatives to receive the ballot papers in Lusaka.
Ms Issacs urged the political parties and civil society organisations to take advantage of ECZ’s facilitation by monitoring the process with keen interest.
“The onus is now on the political parties and civil society to monitor the process throughout,” she said.
The ECZ director also disclosed that the commission has contracted the Zambia Air Force to air-lift ballot papers to areas that could not be accessed by road because of the rains.
She said the commission would soon advise political parties on the areas that would required air lifting of ballot papers.
During a press briefing in Lusaka last Wednesday Dr Banda alleged that his party had information that ballot papers with ink marks that could were being printed to be distributed to UPND strongholds.
Zambia goes to the polls on January 20 to elect a president following the death of President Michael Sata in October last year.