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POLL ALARMISTS BLASTED

POLL ALARMISTS BLASTED

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Daily Nation would like to retract yesterday’s headline story titled “CAUGHT IN THE ACT”. We have since learnt that the staff were actually doing routine work involving Gen 18 forms and not Gen 20 as alluded to in our story.


…No one was caught, ECZ staff were doing normal work – ECZ



LOSING UPND candidates and their supporters were behind the rowdy fracas that erupted at the Lusaka Civic Centre where Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) staff were harassed and threatened on a misconception that they were allegedly altering Gen 20 poll result figures.
The angry crowd accused the staff of holding a secretive exercise to clean the poll records in readiness for petitions.


Electoral Commission of Zambia Corporate Affairs Manager Patricia Luhanga has however said there was nothing secretive about the exercise because all stakeholders had been invited to be part of the
post-election ballot paper reconciliation exercise.
And contrary to what was being claimed by the UPND candidates the verification exercise did not involve Gen 20 forms but Gen 18 forms.
This was contrary to statements by some UPND candidate who claimed to have been “tipped” about the exercise.


Ms Luhanga explained that all the stakeholders were invited to be part of the process and that it was a normal procedure which did not have any ill intentions.


Ms. Luhanga said that it was unfortunate that the commission could be maligned in such a manner when it had proved beyond reasonable doubt that it was transparent.
She dispelled allegations that some of its officers connived with PF members to alter Gen 20 forms for Matero, explaining that the ECZ staff were actually doing normal routine work following the election.
She said that they had not verified the documents after the elections which they were doing countrywide and not just at the Lusaka City Council and that there was nothing sinister about the verification unlike what was being circulated in the media.
“The Commission only consolidated and announced the results for the presidential elections and that they had not done so for National Assembly and Mayoral results,” she said.
And the Lusaka City Council has expressed displeasure at the harassment of poll staff at the hands of losing candidates and their supporters who thronged the civic centre’s Nakatindi Hall.
Lusaka City Council LCC Public Relations Manager Mwaka Nakweti said in a statement yesterday that the assertion that poll staff were altering figures on the Gen 20 forms which were the Announcement of Results Forms was false and malicious.


The council, she said, wished to render its displeasure over the matter because following the conclusion of the general elections, the ECZ was mandated to conduct Ballot Paper Reconciliation countrywide as indicated in the election calendar.
Ms Nakweti said the process was being done with various election stakeholders present following a notice dated August 16, 2021 inviting them to witness the reconciliation of ballot papers.
“The purpose of the reconciliation exercise is for the officers to ensure that the figures are correct and properly recorded on the Ballot Paper Account Form (Gen 18) before submission to the Commission,” she said.


She said the Gen 18 was used to account for all ballot papers that were used in an election which included the ballot papers used, unused and spoilt ballot papers.


“No one can amend Gen 20 because they were in the public domain and stuck at all polling stations as well as verified by all stakeholders,” she said.
Ms Nakweti urged the losing candidates to exercise patience and wait for the due process to take its course and if they intend to petition the election results, they needed to present their grievances and evidence to the courts of law.



We sincerely apologise to the Commission, to our esteemed readers for this misleading information.

By ADRIAN MWANZA

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