Voters’ roll in a shambles — Zec

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said the voters’ roll is in such a bad state it would need to be cleaned before credible elections could be held.

Report by Wonai Masvingise

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, addressing editors from various media houses in the capital, also said at least 44 days were required from the day the President proclaims an election to the holding of the polls.

“It is trite that a credible electoral process begins with a credible voters’ roll which is acceptable to all stakeholders. In my view, it should be an easy matter for us to have a credible voters’ roll if we agree on what it should look like beforehand,” Justice Makarau said.

She urged the media to assist in cleaning the voters’ roll by making the public aware of the need to inspect the roll.

“The commission is concerned that the voters’ roll may not be in the shape that it ought to be in before the harmonised elections,” she said.  “In particular, the commission is concerned that people who lawfully registered as voters in a particular ward may have found their names removed from the roll of that ward without their knowledge.”

She added: “It is common cause that a lot has been said about the state of the voters’ roll. Some have alleged that their names have been removed and thereafter replaced on the roll. Some allege that their names have been deleted for various reasons.

“It is on the basis of this grave concern that Zec is calling upon each and every one of the registered voters to inspect the voters’ roll during the 30-day voter registration exercise and bring to our attention any anomalies that they may pick up regarding their registration.”

The Zec boss did not, however, say when the 30-day voter registration exercise would begin, but hinted it could be by the end of this week.

The state of the voters’ roll has been a cause for concern to prospective voters and last month Vice-President Joice Mujuru expressed shock after she found only nine people from her village registered as voters.

Many have also been reported to have found their names removed from the roll without explanation, raising suspicion of election rigging.

The Zec boss said the commission had now received $20 million from Treasury for the voter registration and education exercises and teams of two voter educators per ward would be deployed from today.