from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE voters’ roll is again the centre of controversy as Zimbabwe goes into another crucial general election.
Election watchdog, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) is at loggerheads with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) after the electoral body allegedly refused to give ERC an electronic copy of the roll.
ZEC has reportedly demanded that the elections watchdog pay US$187 238 as the cost of providing the electoral register, citing provisions of Statutory Instrument 145 of 2022 Electoral (Voter Registration) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (No.1).
The legal instrument imposes $1 per page of the roll as the unit price.
Unmoved, ERC has given ZEC a seven-day ultimatum to furnish it with an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll, which the elections management body will use during the 2023 general elections.
Dr Tarisai Mutangi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, has written to the ZEC protesting that such a cost is high and more than the “reasonable costs” of providing the national voters’ roll and contrary to provisions of the Electoral Act.
Mutangi further argued that the cost of the national voters’ roll, borders on unconstitutionality and curtails the enjoyment of political rights provided in the Constitution.
Mutangi noted that an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll costs $200.
ZEC has argued it cannot provide ERC with an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll on the basis that the elections management body is in the process of enhancing the security of the electronic version.
Critics and the opposition accuse the ZEC, seen as partisan, to use the voters’ roll to rig elections for the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), in power since independence in 1980.
It is said to have “ghost voters”, the deceased and multiple listing of ZANU-PF supporters.
– CAJ News