In 2015 we were fortunate enough to win a contract to provide the ECZ (Electoral Committee or Zambia) a total of 1,100 generators, 3,000w each. Those were to be used in the preparation process to the election.
Although the central regions of Zambia, around the capital Lusaka, are pretty well lit and covered by ZESCO’s (the local power company – Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited) grid, the more far-flung and remote regions of this vast country remain under served and receive very little, if any, power.
ECZ’s ground-breaking plan, in preparation for the election, was to get, for the first time in Zambia’s history, a voter ID registration system that would have citizens throughout the country’s 750 thousand square kilometres electronically registered and added to the central database.
The 1,100 generators we provided the ECZ about six weeks ahead of deadline, were deployed using ECZ’s commercial vehicle fleet to a thousand locations nationwide. Upon arriving there, a local ECZ team would set-up a voter registration station in a tent in the middle of what’s referred to in Africa as “bush” or wilderness. There the staff places a desk and a couple seats, and connects a computer, a scanner, a printer, a laminating machine, and lights. All those are to run from the generator.
The idea is then to have anyone who is eligible to vote photographed using the computer and an internet camera, then have a paper with their details and picture printed out, and then have the paper laminated and cut. Not hi-tech, but quite a progress for Africa.
While most of the equipment the ECZ ran with the generator was quite easy to handle, like computer, screen, printer, and lights; there was still the laminating machine with which we had to deal. The elevated level of heat it requires, especially when setting up, uses quite a high amperage. To validate our generators’ abilities to withstand the requirements, and ability to deliver the needed result, we had to use the services of our engineering team in Frankfurt, who verified and instructed the Zambians about safe and economical use of the equipment.
Eventually, we take immense pride in having had such a prominent role in assisting the democratic process in a nation that has been developing a consistent process of democracy, despite its continent’s relatively less prominent democratic tendencies.