Ballot papers

Zambians should resist attempts by any interest group in the political arena to intimidate the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) into making a decision that will please them in the choice pertaining to where the printing of ballot papers is done for the August 11 general elections.

The decision should be left to the ECZ as guided by the laws of Zambia under the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA).

Awarding a tender, especially for Government and in this case the ECZ, for the printing of ballot papers is not as easy as some politicians are making it sound.

Mishandling the printing of the ballot papers would have dire consequences on Zambias stability as a nation.

No political party should think only their choice of the printer would be free of controversy.

It must be understood that Zambia has over 20 political parties who would love their preference to be ideal for finding a printer for the August 11 ballot papers.

But tenders have processes which have to be followed as guided by the law and any abuse of the process has legal consequences.

Those who follow court processes would attest to the fact that cases of the abuse of tender procedures have negative repercussions.

Therefore, duties pertaining to ECZ operations should be left in the hands of ECZ officials who have over the years demonstrated professionalism.

We are reminded of the Patriotic Front in the opposition who prior to the 2011 general elections condemned the printing of ballot papers by a South African company because the polls would allegedly be rigged.

When the results went in favour of the PF, nobody heard the Michael Sata led political party rejecting the outcome.

All political players should arm themselves with campaign messages that can resonate with the public so that they can attract numbers who will vote for them.

The attempts to use scare tactics to attract voters would backfire if political leaders have no campaign strategy.

Our ECZ is a respected institution in the region and the world at large and nothing should be done to soil its image.

In most cases, despite having financial and logistical challenges, the ECZ had always come out tops to conduct a free and fair election.

Therefore, ECZ should stand firm and do what they are renowned for in the administration of elections within Zambia and beyond.

Zambians should realise that dictating to ECZ has the potential of creating a simmering environment for chaos.

We are, however, comforted that soon it would be a punishable offense for anyone to influence the decisions of ECZ.

The ECZ Act before Parliament is explicit about this and prescribes a two-year jail term for reprobates.

We commend this as it will strengthen the independence of the electoral body.

Categorized | Editorial

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