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Voter registration in false start



THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) will not be able to roll out a full-scale voter registration exercise until mid-October due to lack of resources, NewsDay has learnt.

President Robert Mugabe in a proclamation announced that the biometric voter registration (BVR) will be rolled out this Thursday, at a time Zec only has 400 BVR kits out of the expected delivery of 3 000.

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau confirmed her team was still waiting for the equipment, but would start registration on Thursday.

“On Thursday, we are just launching the programme. The countrywide blitz will start when we receive the remaining 2 600 kits and those are coming mid-next month. Voter registration will start on Thursday, but the blitz will be starting mid-October after receiving the remaining kits,” she said.

Makarau added that the training of those who were hired for voter registration was ongoing until the other kits arrive in the country.

Sources, however, said Zec was yet to pay the full purchase price for the supply of the BVR kits, but expressed optimism that Laxton Group would deliver the 2 600 kits by September 30.

“The plan is to pay the outstanding money by Friday and if that happens delivery of the remaining kits will be done at the very least by September 30, because Laxton has remained ahead of schedule,” a highly-placed source said.

This came as independent electoral watchdog, Elections Resource Centre (ERC), raised fears that Zec was considering to inherit the discredited voters’ roll used in the 2013 harmonised elections.

“The regulations seem to suggest that people previously registered to vote will only need to submit themselves with proof of identification for re-registration,” ERC said.

“The question that then comes to mind is how will Zec know that someone claiming re-registration was indeed registered previously using the manual process? The only way Zec can confirm that one was registered before and therefore eligible for re-registration is if they (Zec) or someone else they will be working with, has a copy of the 2013 voters’ roll.

“Now this would suggest that since 2013, someone has been misleading the courts and the nation that the 2013 voters’ roll was not accessible unless of course if all of a sudden it has miraculously become available. Zec must, therefore clarify which roll they will use and where they will get the roll to verify re-registrations.”

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