When the Commission started preparations for the conduct of 2011 Tripartite Elections, it proceeded on the premise that ballot papers for the elections would be printed locally by the Government Printer. To this effect, the Commission engaged the government through the Minister of Works and Supply to assess the capacity of Government Printer to print ballot papers for the 2011 Tripartite Elections. On 16th September 2010, the Minister of Works and Supply, Hon. Mike MULONGOTI wrote to His Honour the Vice President with a copy to the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, among others, as follows:
“When the issue of printing ballot papers and elections materials was brought to my Ministry and that the Government Printer be made to undertake the work for preparation for the 2011 tripartite elections, an assessment of the Government Printer buildings was conducted in order to ascertain its suitability for the task.
For the successful execution of undertaking the above task, the Department requires the underlined:-
TOTAL K46, 653,000,000 billion
Pursuant to the above and that only K1.0 billion was approved for the rehabilitation of the Government Printer in the 2010 budget, my Ministry wrote the Secretary to Treasury requesting for special funding to carry out the proposed rehabilitation and new works.
You may wish to note that as soon as funds are confirmed available, my ministry shall proceed to tender the works except for the CCTV whose tender is being re-evaluated for the award to the successful bidder.
Upon successful competition of the above proposed works the government Printer would be ready to undertake the important national task of printing ballot papers and elections materials.
Hon. Mike Mulongoti, MP
MINISTRY OF WORKS AND SUPPLY
Copy to: Madam Justice Florence N. Mumba
Electoral Commission of Zambia
Secretary to the Cabinet
His successor, Hon. Gabriel NAMULAMBE took up the issue and as at 14th March 2010, he also indicated to the Vice President through a letter which was copied to the Commission that the Ministry needed to invest K43,897,966,174 to equip the government Printer to print the ballot papers for the 2011 elections. Not long after that, the Executive informed the Electoral Commission of Zambia that they have been unable to invest the required amount of money to build the capacity of Government Printer. Government Printer were therefore unable to print the ballot papers for the 2011 elections as earlier anticipated.
As the body mandated by the Constitution to conduct elections and being fully aware that the mandate of the current government would expire on 2nd October 2011, the Commission was left with no alternative, but to outsource the printing of the ballot papers.
The tender was advertised in the daily newspapers for a period of four weeks and it closed on 29th April, 2011. Government Printing Department was free to apply for the tender.
At a meeting of the ECZ/Political Parties Liaison Committee of 20th May, 2011, in the ECZ Conference Room, members, who included the Deputy General Secretary of the Patriotic Front, Mr Nsama Yamba, were informed that the Commission was going to proceed to tender the printing of ballot papers because the Government Printing Department had indicated its inability to do so.
Among members present at that meeting was the Minister of Works and Supply, Hon. Gabriel NAMULAMBE, who further amplified to the meeting that Government Printing Department had no capacity to print ballot papers and should be considered for future elections after adequate security measures were in place.
On 15th July, 2011, the Commission made a statement informing the public that it had awarded the tender for the printing of ballot paper booklets and nomination forms for the 2011 tripartite elections to Universal Print Group (Pty) Ltd. of Durban, South Africa, after fulfilling all the tender requirements.
As stated in the 15th July statement, eight companies responded to the invitation and were evaluated in accordance with the laid down procedures. Three companies qualified for technical evaluation and were examined in accordance with the technical specifications that were provided with specific reference to the bidding document.
Two companies qualified for analysis of their past performance records and site inspection was done on 6th and 7th June, 2011.
Universal Print Group of the Republic of South Africa satisfied the Commission with its machinery and production technology in place, security and surveillance technology at the premises and surroundings. In addition, the Commission was satisfied with the binding, finishing, sorting, packaging, audit trail and related technologies at Universal Print Group (Pty) Ltd of Durban, South Africa and therefore proceeded to award the tender.
ISSUED BY: THE DIRECTOR
ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF ZAMBIA
P.O BOX 50274