Friday, September 16, 2011

ECZ seeks ZAF's help to transport ballot papers

ECZ seeks ZAF's help to transport ballot papers
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 15 Sep. 2011, 13:55 CAT

ECZ chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima says the institution has solicited the help of four Zambia Air Force helicopters to be used in airlifting polling materials to far-flung areas.

In an interview, Justice Mambilima said the Electoral Commission of Zambia had to learn from what happened in the past, especially in areas such as Western Province and Luano valley in Central Province.

"Also some areas like Nyimba and maybe somewhere in Chama so what we have done is that we have delivered most of the non-security items and we have solicited the help of ZAF, they have availed us four helicopters which we shall use to airlift the staff and some of the polling materials required for the polling stations.

"Let me say that the problem we had in the past in places like Shang'ombo and Sinjembela is that you would send your materials there, the truck sending the material gets stuck, you are not aware that the truck is stuck. You send another, one it also gets stuck so this time around we have given our officers in those far-flung areas satelite phones so that they are able to communicate with us in case there is any problem so that we can direct the choppers where to go. So that much we have done for this election," said Justice Mambilima.

On the issue of voting two days after the official polling day in some areas, Justice Mambilima said all poll staff have been asked to be in the polling station a day before the voting day.

"We are going to pay full subsistence allowance for out of station so we are insisting that all poll staff must sleep at their respective respective stations and be able to open the station on time on September 20 so we don't anticipate that we shall have such delays. If there will be any problem we anticipate that we shall be informed because of the communication which we have unveiled to our officers in the field," said Justice Mambilima.

Justice Mambilima said the ECZ's target was to deliver all the election materials in far-flung areas such as Northern Province, Western, North-Western and Luapula Provinces, not less than 48 hours before the election date.
She said all non-security materials were already in the districts and only the ballot papers were remaining.

Justice Mambilima said ECZ staff and officers had gained a lot of experience in the conduct of elections, adding that most of them were geared for this year's polls and were working under minimum supervision.

"The challenges have been different, if you recall in 2006 we were recovering from 2001 which many people thought was not a very good election and we think that in 2006 we did our best and we had the by-election in 2008 and I can say that the officers and staff of the ECZ have gained a lot of experience. They all know what they are supposed to do, so as for me the way I'm feeling, while...we shall take the bull by the horns, this is something we are supposed to do and we are going to do it," said Justice Mambilima.

And Justice Mambilima said the entire consignment of ballot papers including those which were reprinted was in the country, and what had remained were polling station posters and pallets for Central and North-Western provinces but that they too were expected in the country yesterday Wednesday.

"We have been told that the airline when they were packing, the cargo was too much and they left eight pallets, so we have been in touch with the people concerned in Durban so they have chartered a smaller plane which would bring the pallets tomorrow Wednesday seven are for Central Province and one for North-Western, they had to break up one of the pallets because of the height so they will be eight altogether including our posters."

Justice Mambilima appealed to Zambians to turn up in large numbers and cast their votes, and observe peace by respecting the outcome of the election.

Meanwhile, earlier at the airport PF Kanyama aspiring candidate Colonel Gerry Chanda queried the ECZ deputy IT director Brown Kasalu on who would keep the keys to the warehouse where the ballot papers would be kept, to which the latter responded that it was the ECZ.

However, Col Chanda proposed that political parties should have their representatives at the warehouse, to which Kasalu said the police officers would guard the warehouse.

"But the police are part of the system" said Col Chanda as Kasalu responded: "We must learn to trust our institutions," as Col Chanda shook his head in disagreement.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home