Government should recapitalise the Government Printers to ensure that it can print ballot papers for next year’s general elections because printing the ballots outside the country was an expensive undertaking, the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM) has advised.
ZDDM vice president Charles Kafumbo told the Daily Nation yesterday that it was sad that successive Governments had failed to revamp the operations of the Government Printers which he said was capable of printing documents in bulk once recapitalised thereby reducing expenditure during events such as elections.
He said printing ballot papers from South Africa did not only cost Zambia huge amounts of money but was a drawback on employment as the jobs that would have been done by Zambians would be transferred outside the country.
“We are calling upon Government to recapitalise the Government Printers so that come next year, we will use the ballot papers which will be produced locally because we believe that this institution can manage to print these papers if proper investment is made.
“We cannot manage to be giving people from other countries business fortunes simply because we cannot do things right. Let Government recapitalise the Government Printers to make it more viable and productive,” Mr. Kafumbo said.
He said it was sad that the facility had been reduced to a white elephant when it had the potential to produce the same quality of the documents companies in other countries were producing.
“I went to the Government Printers not long ago and realistically speaking, the facility has just been reduced to nothing; they don’t even have telephones, no security cameras and everything seem to be in bad state yet this is the facility that prints government documents. This is why we are now appealing to President Edgar Lungu to look into this matter seriously. It is not true that that facility is not viable but I believe that with the rightful investments, we can help this printing facility,” he said.
And Mr. Kafumbo said his party will defend Government’s piecemeal approach to the enactment of a new people driven constitution because that was the best way to give the Zambians the document that they had waited for over a long period of time.
He said those who were opposed to the approach did not mean well for Zambians because there was nothing wrong with it as it was made in the best interest of the citizens as the country did not have enough resources to have a referendum and the general election in the same year.
“Sometimes, people just argue for the sake of making noise because we don’t even understand why this should be a big issue as at the end of the day, it is us the Zambian people whose interest should be save-guarded.
“Under normal circumstances, we don’t see any reason why we should be divided over an issue like this because we know which ones are contentious issues and which ones are not and for us, we cannot wait to have the piecemeal process started by amending the non-contentious and then subjecting the rest of the document to a referendum together with the 2016 general elections,” he said.