The Electoral Commission of Zambia intends to award the printing of ballot papers to the Dubai based Alghuraair Printing and Publishing Plc. Available documents from the ECZ show that the Dubai company was the most expensive bidder, having offered more than double the bidding price of the other company that has been printing ballots for Zambia in the last elections.
According to the documents seen by the Zambian Watchdog, the other South African based company, which has been printing ballots for Zambia in the past three years, has since petitioned ECZ questioning ECZ on the criteria it used. The South Africa company argued that even their paper quality and features requested surpasses what the ECZ was actually looking for.
The South Africa printers have further argued that they have in the past printed ballot papers for ECZ including the January 2015 Presidential election and parliamentary bye elections without any difficulties and are now wondering how the ECZ has awarded the highest, new bidder.
Various stakeholders have been raising speculations of an attempt by the PF to rig elections and have since objected to the printing of ballot papers in Dubai. Stakeholders also argue that Dubai is even too far and costly for other stakeholders to inspect the printing. Stakeholders do not trust offers by the ECZ that it will finance their trips to Dubai to inspect. This way the PF can actually bribe some weak members of the opposition.
Surprisingly, even the Government printers tendered the bid and one would have thought they would have been given preference not only as a job creation initiative, but also for easy of supervision and in line with the PF promises of printing ballots locally.
Government would also have saved a lot of foreign exchange which is in short supply by using the local company.
Here is the list of the companies that had applied(bid) to print Zambia’s ballot papers and the cost quoted in US Dollars.
Ren-form(South Africa) – $1,698,360
Uniprint – $1,698,548
Fongda – $1,956057
Pearlmedia – $2,300,000
Tall security – $3,665,777
Al ghurair (Dubai) – $3,566,680
Formeset – $3,758,000
Oriental Security – $3,872,443
Gvt Printers(Zambia) – $3,918,754
Sharemix Ltd – $5,261,928
Smith & Ouzman – $5,973,491
Fidelity Printers – $6,969,667
Printfloor Private ltd – $9,104,929.