Sunday, 12 October 2008
CONFUSION CHARACTERISES ARRIVAL OF PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT PAPERS
Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson Florence Mumba (far left) in a confrontation with UPND election agent Tiens Kahenya (far right)on why the Presidential ballot papers will come to Zambia in two batches. Yhis was at Lusaka international airport where the ECZ has set up a ballots centre in one of the unused hangers.
Confusion yesterday characterised the arrival of Presidential ballot papers at Lusaka international airport. Althoug a near punch-up was not eminent, the scene remained tense because tempers flared and the individuals involved used strong language to put their points across. They also continued to point daring fingers at each other. Police armed with firearms kept vigil as the drama unfolded.
Agents from opposition political parties and other obervers refused to get an explanation from the electoral commission of Zambia (ECZ) on why the ballots were allowed to come in bacthes from South Africa. They suspected that this was a ploy to rig the elections.
ECZ chairperson Justice Florence Mumba and her officials engaged in an exchange of words when the opposing side insisted for an explanation.
One of the opponents was UPND's Tiens Kahenya who was visibly annoyed at the ECZ's decision to allow Universal Printing Group to bring the ballots in two batches.
"Mr Kahenya sit down! Justice Mumba ordered defiant Kahenya who asked to Judge to show some respect.
According to the ECZ, the ballots could not come all at once because of weight restrictions on the cargo plane.
But the elections agents from the political parties questioned why a second plane was not sourced to accommodate the remaining papers.
This was the bone of contention and most elections agents went away unsatisfied although the ECZ made a re-assirance that the remaining papers would arrive in Zambia on Monday OCtober 13 at 13:00 hours on the same flight.
Some elections agents also asked the ECZ to clarify the printing of extra ballot papers insisting that the effort was unnecessary because they did no expect 100 percent voter turn out and that some voters had died.