Zambian president debunks rigging allegations

Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Monday denied reports that he plans to rig this year's elections by colluding with the country's electoral body.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu
Zambian President Edgar Lungu

Lungu, who is seeking re-election on the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ticket in the August 11 polls, has dismissed reports that his visit to Saudi Arabia was meant to meet a print company the Electoral Commission (ECZ) has selected to print ballot papers for the elections.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu
Zambian President Edgar Lungu
In remarks delivered to journalists at the Lusaka International Airports on his way to Saudi Arabia, the Zambian leader said he does not know companies that bid for the tender to print the ballot papers, adding that his visit to Saudi Arabia was meant to cement ties.

Lungu further called on political leaders to trust and have faith in the electoral body, adding that the electoral body was made up of people of integrity.

Lungu has since dismissed reports that he has been interfering in the operations of the electoral body.

Stakeholders have expressed concerns over a proposal by the electoral body to award the tender to print the ballot papers to a Saudi Arabian firm, Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing House, saying it was a ploy by the electoral body to help Lungu win the polls.

The Public Procurement Authority, a government agency that regulates public procurement, has since ordered the electoral body to review the ballot paper printing tender following objections by some printers after revelations that the Dubai-based firm has won the tender.

Thirteen firms were shortlisted for the tender to supply and deliver ballot papers and other elections materials.

Zambia will hold presidential, legislative and local government elections on August 11 and the campaigns officially kicked off on May 16.

Political parties have up to August 10 to move around the country and canvass votes from voters.

Last week, the parliament was dissolved after serving its five-year mandate. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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