LUSAKA-Leading Zambian opposition party, the United Party for National Development (UPND), has to written the country’s Electoral Commission body asking it not to award a ballot printing contract to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing Limited of Dubai, one of the companies which printed ballot papers for the recently concluded elections in Uganda.
Through their lawyers, the UNPD wrote to the Zambia electoral boss Pricilla Isaac to exclude the Dubai-based publishing company on grounds that it provided printing services in petitioned elections.
“Our clients categorically object to the award of the contract to Al Ghurair Printing Company for the following reasons: 1. Procedural Impropriety – Due Diligence and Litigation Status: our clients posit that ECZ did not conduct due diligence on this printing company because if you did, you know that this company, together with two other printing companies namely Paarl Media (South Africa), TALL Security Print Limited (United Kingdom) – provided printing services in the petitioned elections that saw the impugned victory of President Yoweri Museveni in the elections held in that country on February 18, 2016. Whereas the Supreme Court of Uganda upheld the outcome of the election results, the judgment of nine justices, read out by the head of the Supreme Court, Bart Katureebe, said they had found valid evidence of several malpractices including late delivery of polling materials…,” read part of the letter.
Zambia is headed for polls on August 11 and according to the UPND, the party does not want participation by a firm that was involved in the Ugandan presidential elections.
“Our clients object to subject the process of preparing and delivering ballot papers- for the forthcoming elections in this country – to any firm that participated in the just ended Uganda elections, which include Al-Ghurair Printing and Publishing Limited of Dubai,” the letter adds.
Al-Ghurair Printing and Publishing Limited of Dubai has been shortlisted on a list of companies to supply voting material in the oncoming Zambia national elections.
However, contacted for comment Uganda’s Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesperson Jotham Taremwa dismissed UPND’s assertions as speculative and inconsistent, devoid of any meaningful ground?
According to Mr Taremwa, the alleged late delivery of ballots in Uganda has nothing to do with the printing in Dubai.
The UPND is Zambia’s second leading party. Established in 1998 the party fielded Anderson Mazoka in the 2001 elections and he came second behind Movement for Multi Party Democracy’s (MMD), the late Levy Mwanawasa.