Representatives of political parties monitoring the printing of ballot papers in Johannesburg this morning demanded that the Electoral Commission of Zambian (ECZ) reveals the security features of presidential ballot papers for January 20 elections.
During a briefing meeting by ECZ and the printing company Ren-Form this morning, the opposition political parties’ representatives demanded to know the security features on the ballot papers in order to be assured that the ballots cannot be printed elsewhere.
United Party for National Development (UPND) representative Cosmas Moono said as stakeholders, political parties had the right to know what security features were on the ballot papers to allay fears of ballots papers being printed secretly elsewhere.
Captain Moono said being sensitive documents, ballot papers should carry special security features which should be made known to all stakeholders by ECZ.
”We want to be sure that the ballot papers cannot be printed by just any other printer because of the security marks but we do not know why ECZ is not willing to do that,” he said.
National Restoration Party (NAREP) national secretary Jevan Kamanga echoed Capt. Moono’s sentiments adding that knowing the security features would remove any suspicions and myths that political players may have about the printing of ballot papers.
And Islamic Supreme Council of Zambia representative Sheikh Siddique Kaputula said the ECZ would lessen suspicions if it revealed the security marks.
"I think for the sake of transparency and credibility, it would be better if the security details of the ballot papers were made known because all these differences will not be there," he said.
But ECZ Elections Manager, Winner Mwanamoonga assured the stakeholders that the ballot papers were being printed on a special security paper meant solely for presidential election.
He said it has never been a custom for ECZ in the past elections to explain security marks of ballot papers and wondered why this time around political parties have made it a big issue.
"We have been doing this exercise for a long time now and we have never been asked to explain security features of the ballot paper but like you saw yesterday, ballots are printed on a security paper,” he said.
After lengthy deliberations, the stakeholders agreed to lay aside the issue of security features and allow the printing of ballots to continue.
Meanwhile, Ren-Form Chief Operations Officer Albe Naude disclosed that 500, 000 ballot papers had been printed by 09:00 hours this morning.
Mr. Naude said the printing firm was likely to reach one million copies by this evening.
He projected that Ren-Form will reach the target of 5,390,050 ballot papers by Wednesday evening.
Zambia will hold presidential elections on January 20, 2015 to choose a new president who will succeed the late Michael Sata.
President Sata died in London on October 28 this year after an illness.
Eleven candidates have filed in nominations to contest the position of president.