HomeNewsCMED demands cash upfront from Zec

CMED demands cash upfront from Zec

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CMED has asked the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to pay cash upfront for vehicle hire in the forthcoming March 27 by-elections after the electoral body failed to pay $3 million for vehicles hired during the 2013 harmonised elections.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs that although Zec was fully prepared for the by-elections for Chirumanzu and Mt Darwin West constituencies, government had only availed a budget of $1,473 million when Zec wanted $2,144 million.

She said the variance was mainly due to reduction in daily election allowances from $55 to $40.
“The commission relies on hired vehicles from CMED which has been our traditional supplier for all past elections, but now CMED has been unwilling to hire vehicles to the commission unless an upfront payment is made,” Justice Makarau said. “The conditions of the majority of vehicles from CMED are deplorable and the commission fears that it is continually exposing both its permanent and hired staff to danger.”

Justice Makarau also disclosed that the electoral body was struggling to pay staff salaries, adding that some were owed money for 2013.

Other challenges she said bedevilled Zec included non-alignment of the Electoral Act with the Constitution, resulting in Zec being sued by some stakeholders for violation of Section 67 of the Constitution which gives rights to every Zimbabwean over 18 years to vote or stand for election for public office.

“We are in exclusive control of the forthcoming by-elections. We have done the voter registration exercise and we are compiling data in order to come up with voters’ rolls for the two constituencies. The two constituences will be a pilot project for efficiency of voters’ rolls in the country,” she said.

Justice Makarau said unlike the 2013 harmonised elections, the electronic and print versions of the voters’ rolls would be availed for inspection.

She said civil servants would be recruited to assist during the by-elections, adding that there would be 85 static polling stations in Chirumanzu and 46 in Mount Darwin West.

Makarau admitted that the quality of ballot paper was not good, especially pictures.

“Sometimes the quality leaves a lot to be desired. This is because we ask candidates to bring their own photos due to funding constraints. We need the nation to debate the issue because we cannot impose on them. We noticed some candidates brought photos of 20 years ago for some reasons.”

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