ECZ SADDENED BY CONTINUED VICTIMISTATION OF ITS OFFICERS
ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) Public Relations Manager Patricia Luhanga says the commission is saddened by continued the confrontations between itself and political party stakeholders over elections related matters.
Contraversy erupted at Nakatindi Hall in Lusaka yesterday after ECZ polling agents with some PF members were caught by UPND officials allegedly altering G20 forms for Matero, Chawama and, Mandevu constituencies as well as the Lusaka mayoral election to tally with their fake records.
The team was allegedly found filling in new G20 forms inside the hall while some destroyed original forms were found by the UPND officials within the same premises in the bins.
Upon seeing the UPND officials who were tipped by the public, one of the ECZ officials escaped.
But Speaking during Hot FMs HOT Seat Programme on Friday morning, Luhanga said that the electoral officers were not dealing with G20 forms but rather G18 forms, which are official forms for reconciling ballot paper allocations.
“In our election calendar, we did provide for the reconciliation of ballot papers. The same stakeholders have been asking for accountability of ballot papers and that is the process that the commission started. Immediately we finalised the announcement and consideration of the presidential results, we went into the consideration of national assembly, after national assembly, we consolidated mayoral and council chairperson. We now went into local government which is now the councillors and we finished that exercise on Wednesday,” Luhanga explained.
“Yesterday we begun reconciling of ballot papers across the country. What was happening at Lusaka’s Civic Center is happening across all the districts in the country.
All the people responsible for elections under the DEO have to account for the usage of the ballot papers and what we were working on is Gen 18 and no Gen 20. Gen 20 is a document that was given to all political stakeholders across the country that stipulated results at a particular polling station and they have those results in their hands. So if they were thinking that there was something that was being changed at Lusaka Civic Centre, all they needed was to follow the procedure. Report to the police.
If there was any alterations they should be able to provide what was provided to them earlier.”
Luhanga said that commission was deeply saddened by the incident.
“A Gen 18 form is a ballot paper reconciliation document. Remember ballot papers have serial numbers and each polling station did receive (ballot papers) slightly more than the number of registered voters, this is simply because , we need to put up a contingency plan to cater for those that probably make a mistake and they come back and say ‘I need another ballot paper’. So then the spoilt ballot paper, has to be accounted for,” she said.
Luhanga said the two documents were not identical.
I should be quick to mention that this issue was reported to the police yesterday, we will be finalizing the processes this morning at about 09:00hours and all the ballot papers that were in the wrong hands… and I am saying wrong hands because political stakeholders are not supposed to be in possession of ballot papers.
Luhnaga said ballot papers needed to be secure in case a recount is ordered by the courts of law
Asked why officials had begun running away when asked to give account of what was happening, Luhanga said ECZ officers had suffered a lot violence at the hands of political stakeholders.
“”Their experience with these political stakeholders in the field has not been good,” she said.
Luhanga said political stakeholders were coming with accusations instead of first clarifying matters.
She said that in some instances political stakeholders were even recording ECZ officers on camera, stressing that ECZ officers were justified to move away from such incidences so that they can protect their identities.