Zec needs to come clean on voters’ roll manipulation allegations

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THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is in the eye of a storm again, this time for allegedly moving people around constituencies illegally, basically manipulating the voters’ roll.

Here is what activists Team Pachedu have publicly alleged after going through the voters’ roll to be used in the March 26 by-elections: “Zec has illegally moved 170 000 voters from their original constituencies and wards, essentially redrawing electoral boundaries without notifying voters as stipulated by the law.

“The move, of course, means that 170 000 people are likely to find themselves trying to vote in wrong constituencies or wards and may not be able to eventually get to the right place to cast their vote.

“This of course is likely to disenfranchise the voters and could render them unable to vote, affecting the credibility of the polls.

“Team Pachedu, after analysing the voters’ roll to be used in the by-elections in comparison with the one used in the 2018 polls, concluded that a total of 170 867 addresses that were in the 2018 voters’ roll had been reassigned by Zec between 2018 and 2022, with Glen View South having the highest number  of edited addresses at 19 758, followed by Mangwe, Lupane East, Zaka East, Luveve, Kuwadzana and Chiredzi North.”

These are very specific allegations that demand a proper explanation from Zec.

Zec’s response was to cry foul and decry the allegations as a scheme bred of “pure malice” and bent on destroying its image and integrity.

The movement of nearly 20 000 voters from Glen View South, an opposition stronghold to Harare South, which the ruling Zanu PF party won in the 2018 polls is indicative of machinations at play.

Zec must explain how it came to moving such large numbers of voters from their original constituencies without explanation.

Its contention that the removal of “deceased voters, duplicates and other malcontents is a continuous exercise necessary for the update of the voters’ roll in an effort to keep it accurate, complete and current” does not make sense.

Zec does not have the mandate to change ward boundaries outside the delimitation process and the process has not been undertaken, so it has no constitutional mandate to change the constituencies and wards of voters.

The commission has already been under fire after it was exposed for removing over 17 000 voters from the voters’ roll.

Its actions are casting doubt into the transparency and credibility of the voting process for the by-elections and if it follows a similar template, the general elections expected next year.

Clearly, there is a deficit of trust between the commission and the public. This mess is entirely of Zec’s own making and if it wants to foster credibility, it must come clean.