Electoral Commission of Zambia senior public relations officer Sylvia Bwalya says the commission has no problem with printing the 2021 ballot papers locally as long as government has capacity to meet the required security specifications.

And Bwalya says ballot papers for three by-elections to be held on April 25 have arrived in the country.

Recently, President Edgar Lungu pronouncement that 2021 ballot papers would be printed locally as government would recapitalize government printers.

Commenting on the pronouncement, Bwalya said the commission had no objections as long as government had capacity to meet the required specifications.

“The ballot papers have a certain quality and security specification which has to be met, so for as long as that is met, the commission has no problem with printing,” Bwalya said.

And Bwalya said the ballots for council chairperson elections in Masaiti District and two local government elections in Ipongo Ward of Chibombo district and Kasamba Ward in Nchelenge District arrived yesterday at 14:30 hrs.

“Two political parties are participating in the Masaiti council chairperson election, that is PF and UPND, while PF, UPND, and UNIP are participating in local government elections,” Bwalya said.

“The Commission is very much ready to conduct these elections on the 25th of April, 2017. We have already done our voter education training and we have also done publicity for the candidates as our mandate. Ballot papers for these by-elections arrived yesterday at 14:30 hrs on the emirates flight. And the arrival was witnessed by the participating political parties. The verification process will follow in the presence of participating political parties and the stakeholders later on.”

She said the ballot papers would be deployed to various centres where the elections would take place at an appropriate time.

“We expect all participating political parties to abide by the electoral code of conduct, we don’t expect that there should be any violence, as ECZ, we have put in place mechanisms to ensure that there is no violence during these elections. We have conflict management committees at district level and all the committees have been meeting in Masaiti and in all these other areas where the by-elections will take place. We also have political parties’ liaison committees who meet to update the political parties on what is happening,” said Bwalya.

“We also expect all NGOs and the media that are going to cover these elections to be accredited. Accreditation started on 10th march and will end on 1st April, 2017.”