The printing of ballot papers in Durban, South Africa started on Tuesday evening and is expected to continue for the next three weeks.
The Watchdog has been informed that by Wednesday evening, about 30 per cent of the presidential ballot papers had been printed.
Political party representatives held a meeting with the printers on Tuesday evening to iron out contentious issues.
It is reported that during this meeting, the printers complained bitterly about allegations of corruption on their part and produced bank account statements to prove their innocence.
After Political party representatives and security agents present were satisfied, they allowed the printing to commence but after each representative signed on a master copy.
Each political party is represented by one person but there are also stakeholders like the intelligence agents, NGOs and the auditor general’s office. There are about 35 people monitoring the printing.
The printing will be done in three phases starting with presidential ballots which is expected to end next Saturday.
The printing of parliamentary ballots is expected to start on Sunday or Monday and last for a week.
Ballots for councilors will be printed last and this will take another week.
The Watchdog has been informed that the Electoral Commission of Zambia may cause the delay in printing as they are releasing required data slowly and in small chunks.
The ECZ sends the required data like names and photos of candidates to the printers by email. The printers then develop this data in readiness for printing after the political party representatives have verified and signed on them.
But by Wednesday evening, the ECZ had only sent information for Central province parliamentary candidates.
Further delays are expected especially when it comes to printing ballots for local government candidates as they are largest in number and exceed 1400.