ECZ still unsure of where to print 2011 ballots

ECZ Public Relations Manager Chris Akufuna has told QFM that the commission is still assessing whether the State owned Government Printers is in a position to meet the security concerns that calls for printing of ballot papers.
In an interview with QFM today Mr Akufuna said that the commission is still waiting for the Government to address the security concerns at the Government Printers building that were raised during a consultative meeting of stakeholders before a decision can be made.
And Mr Akufuna says the commission is and will remain an autonomous body.
He said the commission is not mandated to take decisions from anyone.
He adds despite the ECZ drawing it’s funding from the treasury, it has always demonstrated its independence.
Earlier Works and Supply Minister Mike Mulongoti was quoted in the media saying that the 2011 election ballot papers will be printed in Zambia.
Meanwhile Mr Akufuna has dismissed assertions by some opposition political parties that ECZ is giving priority to the Milanzi parliamentary by-election because it is a stronghold of the ruling MMD.
He says the commission can only announce an election date of a by-election after being officially notified by the National Assembly through the Speaker.
Mr Akufuna explains that the vacancy for the Milanzi seat was communicated to the ECZ earlier and while the vacancy for the Mufumbwe seat was only communicated to the commission when the date for the Milanzi by-election had already been announced.
There have been calls for the ECZ to hold both the Milanzi and the Mufumbwe by-elections at the same date.
The ECZ has set 29th April, 2010 as the date for the Milanzi parliamentary by-election.

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