The Zambian government has contracted a United Kingdom company to print ballot papers for the July by-elections, arguing that government printers are not ready to do the job yet.
Smith & Ouzman, based in East Sussex, United Kingdom has been engaged to print ballot papers for Chama-north, Muchinga and Livingstone parliamentary by-elections plus 11 local government elections scheduled for July 5, 2012. Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) spokesperson Chris Akufuna has confirmed that the contract has been awarded to the foreign printer.
There was no disclosure from the government how much taxpayers would spend on the ballot papers, or who acted as agent for Smith & Ouzman to land the contract.
On Sunday, October 9, 2011, President Michael Sata vowed that Zambia will print its own ballot papers for future elections.
Sata said that the November 24 Magoye and Nakonde parliamentary by-elections would be the last to be conducted on foreign-printed ballots.
He said the printing of ballot papers abroad raised speculations of rigging.