Zim electoral body tells opposition parties to 'back off' – report

Zimbabwe's electoral body has reportedly said that it would not be pressured into disclosing who the suppliers of ballot papers for this year's crunch elections are.

According to NewsDay, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said that there was no law compelling it to involve political parties in its procurement deals.

ZEC said that it would make such information available at an appropriate time and would comply with current legislations.

"... there is no legal provision which requires Zec to involve political parties in its procurement processes for the ballot paper and the printer. Section 52A of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] only requires the commission to disclose the following information to all political parties and candidates contesting an election, and to all observers — (a) where and by whom the ballot papers for the election have been or are being printed; and (b), the total number of ballot papers that have been printed for the election; and (c), the number of ballot papers that have been distributed to each polling station," the electoral body was quoted as saying. 

ZEC indicated recently that it won't go to tender over ballot printers.

It said that it had already selected the company that would print ballot papers for the forthcoming polls and won't put the job out to public tender because there was not enough time, the state Sunday Mail reported.

Transparency

"Government has selected a company to print ballot papers and supply indelible ink for the forthcoming harmonised elections.... due to security and time considerations," the report said.

"The tender would normally have been announced in the Government Gazette [but]...it was felt there was not enough time to follow this process," the paper continued.

The move had since led to opposition parties and pressure groups to pile up pressure on the electoral body demanding it to name suppliers and printers of the ballot papers before proclamation of election dates "to enhance transparency" in the electoral process.

Reports indicated last week that opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa had threatened a "national shutdown" if his Movement for Democratic Change Alliance's demands for transparency and electoral reforms in the forthcoming watershed polls were not met.

Zimbabwe was expected to go to the polls before the end of August.

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