The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has accused government of dragging its feet on the re-alignment of the Electoral Act to the new Constitution, thereby causing loss of public confidence in the local electoral system.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
In a report released this week following an assessment of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s pilot voter registration exercise in Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe in preparation for by-elections to be held on March 27 in the two constituencies, Zesn noted the Executive was not keen to rectify the anomaly.
“Government should demonstrate its commitment to supporting the holding of credible elections by, among other things, supporting the creation of an enabling legislation that supports the efficient administration of elections,” Zesn said.
As part of its observation during the exercise whose turnout was low, Zesn teams which had been invited by Zec noted that that although the new Constitution now allowed “aliens” to obtain Zimbabwean citizenship, thereby becoming eligible to register as voters, a significant number of them were
turned away on the basis that they did not have identification documents or had not renounced their foreign citizenship.
“This is a clear violation of the rights and protections offered to such individuals in the new Constitution,” Zesn said.
Of concern also was that the new registered voters were issued with voter registration slips to be used during the by-elections if their names did not appear on the voters’ roll on polling day.
“This is of concern as it would be difficult to ascertain the authenticity of slips on election day as has been the case with previous by-elections and the national elections of 2013,” Zesn noted.
Zesn recommended that Zec should create more awareness on their role in the process of voter registration, and the requirements of voter registration as this would assist in building confidence in Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
“Zec should also ensure that the voters’ roll for the respective wards is updated before the date on which by-elections are held so that voter registration slips, and the danger they pose to a credible poll, is prevented.”