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By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader Sean Tembo says they are saddened by the continued refusal by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to sponsor political parties to observe the ongoing printing of ballot papers in Dubai.
Mr Tembo says they are further informed that so far the ruling PF party is the only political party that has managed to send representation to Dubai.
He adds this ECZ approach of exclusion by circumstances is totally unacceptable as it is a well-known fact that only the PF can afford the cost of sending representatives for weeks to Dubai.
“This unfortunate situation is seriously undermining the integrity of the entire electoral process because the printing of ballot papers is a cardinal stage in the electoral cycle, given the fact that our general elections are sponsored by taxpayers, ECZ has no credible excuse as to why they are refusing to sponsor representatives of opposition political parties to witness the printing of ballot papers in Dubai,” he said.
Mr Tembo said that one of the reasons why PeP advocated for ballot papers to be printed here in Zambia as opposed to Dubai is because it would have made it easier for all political parties to witness the printing of ballot papers.
“Our considered view is that by only having the ruling PF party witnessing the printing of ballot papers in Dubai, the possibility of rigging of the upcoming elections is increased. With no opposition representatives present in Dubai, Zambians will not have any way of knowing whether additional ballot papers that can be used for rigging purposes, have been printed or no,” he said.
Yesterday, the Electoral Commission of Zambia however said three political parties and one independent party will be allowed to witness the printing of ballot papers in Dubai, with the PF’s representative already in Dubai, while the remaining three are yet to arrive.
Mr Tembo has since advised the PF Government and the Electoral Commission of Zambia that their actions so far have been sowing seeds of distrust of the electoral process and they should not be surprised when Zambians reject the outcome of the August 12general elections.