OPPOSITION parties have cried foul over the $100 000 demanded by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for a copy of the national voters’ roll, describing the charges as too prohibitive for smaller parties without a strong financial base.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
The new charges are contained in a raft of new electoral regulations proposed by Zec.
“The costs of the voters’ rolls are unbelievably prohibitive. For example, an electronic voters’ roll in respect of a polling station costs $1,” MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said yesterday.
“However, Zimbabwe has over 10 000 polling stations. That means that a national party will be required to fork out more than $10 000 for polling station voters’ rolls. If it requires printed polling station voters’ rolls, they will cost $10 each. That means in respect of the 10 000 polling stations, a party will be required to fork out $100 000.”
The MDC-T has threatened to mobilise other stakeholders to block the adoption of the regulations ahead of next year’s general elections. Zimbabwe has 1 200 wards and a political party that needs a bunched national voters’ roll will have to pay $18 000 to access the document in its printed format.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) called on Zec to revise some of its proposed regulations to fill in “notable gaps”.
Among other critical issues, Zesn said the Zec regulations had serious gaps on how the biometric voters’ roll would be used since it was going to be deployed for the elections for the first time.
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“Regulations should specify the steps for the voter registration exercise, including key processes such as the biometric voter registration equipment tendering and procurement,” Zesn said.
Zesn would have also wanted to see Zec include in its regulations the dates for the voter registration period, which up to now remains speculative.
“The electoral regulations should specify the exact period for the compilation of the new national voters’ roll, the period for the updating, and extension of updating period,” Zesn said.