Presence of Minister of Home Affairs at Printing Site a concern -FODEP
The Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has received numerous concerns from stakeholders regarding the presence of Home Affairs Minister Hon. Dr. Ngosa Simbiyakula, who is PF representative monitoring the ballot paper printing in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Despite him having gone there as party official, his presence is raising undue suspicion and speculation around the printing process, its security and credibility.
This is so because Dr. Simbiyakula is not just a mere member of the PF but a Minister in charge of internal security and custodian of key national affairs which includes overseeing operations of law enforcement agencies like Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), Zambia Police and Anti-Corruption who also play a key role in the management of the electoral process.
Given this development, it is FODEP’s view that the ECZ is now faced with the burden of explaining to and persuading stakeholders that the Minister’s presence at the printing site, Johannesburg is necessary and will not compromise the credibility of the electoral process.
FODEP recommends that the above explanation and persuasion be done immediately by the ECZ and PF government or PF party to avoid further speculation and confusion in the electoral process.
Similarly, the PF government has a duty to account for the cost and presence of the Minister in South Africa, who should otherwise, have been represented by other party officials.
PF should have taken a leaf from other political parties and previous governments who avoided sending such high ranking officials more especially the Minister of Home Affairs who holds a strategic position in the country to monitor ballot paper printing which is sensitive process.
This would have helped in arraying any fears that the ballot papers may be tampered with thereby comprising the election outcome.