Information Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says government has not published the report of the Commission of Inquiry in Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence of 2016 due to lack of funds.
Three years ago, President Edgar Lungu appointed a Commission of Inquiry led by retired Supreme Court Judge Munalula Lisimba to investigate the leading cause of electoral violence in all general elections between 2006 and 2016.
And following the submission of the report to the President by the Commission on January 31 this year, the opposition UPND, NDC, Transparency International Zambia, Christian Churches Monitoring Groups (CCMG) and ActionAid among other stakeholders demanded the release of the findings to the public.
Reacting to the public outcry in an interview with News Diggers last month, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe advised that those wishing to know the findings of the Lisimba Commission should get themselves copies of the document from Government Printers.
Chipampe said President Lungu launched the document the day he received it.
Following Chipampe’s guidance, News Diggers visited the Government Printing Department to get a copy of the said report but the staff expressed ignorance about the whereabouts of the report.
The staff at Government Printers referred News Diggers back to the State House and the Minister of Justice.
When contacted for a follow-up interview, Chipampe advised this reporter to get in touch with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information.
And in an interview, Monday, Kasolo explained that the document could not be printed when it was taken to Government Printers because there was no budget for it.
“We have found out that the document had been released and it went to the Government Printing department. But there was no budget for it, so it came back to my ministry and we have been trying to organise some funding so that it can be printed because we can’t distribute it without being printed. So I have asked my director [for] press and media to see if they can try and organise some funds to have it printed. So the document hasn’t gone missing. It is at my ministry and we are organising appropriate funding to make sure we print it. It takes quite a bit of time to print as well because it’s a big document. But it will be done as soon as possible because it’s in our interest too as government to have that document printed,” said Kasolo.
“The document has been at my office for the past few weeks or so. But I haven’t been in the office, so it’s been on my desk. The delay is purely because I was out of the office because certain documents are just for my personal attention, they are confidential and cannot be opened until I am back. So that’s one of them, it’s that confidential until it’s published that’s when it becomes a public document. Yes it was sent from State House to Government Printers, but government printers didn’t have a budget to print it, so they were instructed to hand to my office. So now that it’s in my office and we will do everything possible to make sure it’s printed as soon as possible.”