THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has turned down a request by the MDC-T to furnish the opposition party with an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll, it has emerged.
The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T recently wrote to Zec requesting an electronic copy of the voters’ roll.
The request came after President Robert Mugabe proclaimed March 27 as the date for the Mount Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe by-elections.
The two seats fell vacant following the elevation of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ex-Vice President Joice Mujuru to the presidium.
The MDC-T said its request was justified under Section 155 (1) (c) of the new Constitution which provides that the State “must ensure that all political parties and candidates contesting an election or participating in a referendum have reasonable access to all material and information necessary for them to participate effectively.
“Our request to be furnished with an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll is also underpinned by the provisions of Section 151 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that states that elections must be held regularly and must be peaceful, free and fair,” MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora letter wrote to Zec.
But Zec turned down the MDC-T request on the basis that it had not yet begun the process of registering voters.
“We regret to advise that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is unable to comply with your request at this juncture as it has not commenced voter registration. The public and all stakeholders will be advised in due course once the commission is in a position to register voters. Any inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted,” Zec acting chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana replied in his letter.
The MDC-T last week filed a Constitutional Court challenge seeking to bar the nomination courts from sitting to consider
nomination of parliamentary candidates for the Mount Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituencies arguing that the process was flawed.
Opposition parties have in the past had problems in accessing the voters’ roll making it difficult for them to audit it well before elections.
In 2013, Zec only provided hard copies of the voters’ roll to the
MDC-T on the eve of the elections and could not furnish the opposition party with an electronic copy.