Thursday, 16 October 2008
PRESIDENTIAL BALLOTS GREW LEGS
John Zaza is mobbed and being interrogated by elections agents at the former Zambia Airways hanger.
ELECTIONS agents assigned to monitor presidential elections in Zambia on Wednesday intercepted a government-registered van, which was trying to illegally ferry presidential ballot papers to a remote district.
The agents were from all the four political parties contesting the October 30 polls. The parties are ruling MMD, which is fielding acting president Rupiah Banda, Patriotic Front (PF), fielding Michael Sata.
Others in the presidential race, which follows the death of President Mwanawasa on August 19, are United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his counterpart from the Heritage Party Godfrey Miyanda.
The Toyota Prado registration number GRZ 841-CA was intercepted on Wednesday afternoon after an anonymous person tipped the observers.
The undisclosed number of ballots was stacked in drawers of office furniture.
This caused confusion at a disused hanger within the Lusaka international airport where the verification of the ballot papers was being done.
Opposition UPND secretary general Tiens Kahenya said this was a ploy to rig the elections.
And driver of the vehicle John Zaza said he was heading to Kalabo district of western Zambia.
Zaza said he was not aware of the ballot papers in the vehicle because he was only assigned to ferry a printer and office table to Kalabo.
But Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Deputy Director Priscilla Isaacs also expressed ignorance over the ballots.
Ms Isaacs did not give a comprehensive response apart from saying that said it was wrong to put ballot papers in a government vehicle.
She called for calm over the matter because the ECZ was going to investigate the matter.