Kakoma, Katuka differ over Dubai ballots

UPND has backtracked on its statements that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) can print ballot papers anywhere and is now demanding from Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) documentation in the procurement process authorising the tender awarded to the Dubai Company, A1 Ghurair Printing and Publishing Plc.

On Wednesday, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said ECZ could choose to print the ballot papers for the August general elections anywhere in the world but that would not stop the UPND from emerging victorious and take over the governance of the country.

But according to the letter which was written and signed by UPND Secretary General Stephen Katuka, the UPND charged that the party was of the view that the procurement process was not followed as stipulated by the Zambia Procurement Act.

“Following the continued but not concluded discussions and uncertainty surrounding the procurement of ballot papers from the Dubai Company, A1 Ghurair Printing and Publishing Plc, it has become necessary for my office on behalf of UPND to request for documentation on the procurement process.

“Your silence as a national public procurement regulator has not helped the situation as things have become more uncertain to the extent that the Zambian people have been left wondering on the motive and intent of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and Government of the Republic of Zambia,” reads the letter in parts.

The letter demanded that ZPPA should authenticate the procurement process and the leading institutions involved in the process.

The UPND has requested for the appeal letter written by Ren-form, the South Africa-based company against the award of the tender to A1 Ghurair Printing and Publishing Plc of Dubai.

“Since the Appeals Committee from your institution deliberated on the appeal, you must have given ECZ some guidance. We, therefore, request for the letter you wrote to ECZ explaining the guidance, your response to Ren-form, the South Africa-based company,” reads the letter.

The UPND has further requested for the response received by ZPPA from ECZ on what the Commission had done differently to correct the errors they made during the evaluation, technical, commercial and post evaluation stages.

“Since you are the regulator, you must have presided over the ECZ response and given them further direction. We, therefore, demand for the letters you gave to ECZ, which letters shows that you, as ZPPA, authenticated and cleared the procurement process to warrant award of the Tender to A1 Ghurair Printing and Publishing Plc,” further reads the letter.

But Mr Kakoma said the opposition party had no intentions of boycotting the forthcoming general elections despite the ECZ having decided to print the key voting materials in Dubai.

He said the UPND would ensure that all manner of electoral misconduct was curtailed systematically.

Mr Kakoma claimed that there was no chance for the Patriotic Front (PF) of retaining power because according to him, the ruling party had been a story of failure and mismanagement and that Zambians were now fed up.