Zec blames social media for voter apathy

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BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has claimed that social media misinformation is fuelling voter registration apathy in the country.

Speaking on Wednesday night during a Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) Twitter space discussion, Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana said there was need to demystify the “misinformation” peddled by social media to ensure people register to vote.

This followed reports that there has been a low turn-out during the Zec voter registration blitz which ends on April 30.

“To some extent, we should be able to have numbers to say how many people are eligible to vote and how many are registered to vote, and what might be the reason for low registration. But in most cases, we have seen that misinformation on social media and even in the general public on the streets has caused a lot of voter apathy in many areas,” Mangwana said.

“We, as the commission, will register them to vote, but it’s also important for people to know that as we get into these areas, let’s go and demystify the misinformation on election rigging which is not a reality in most cases.”

Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust education and advocacy officer Sthabile Mlilo said it was a misnomer to blame whistleblowers for Zec shortcomings and shenanigans.

“In this information era of superhighway, you cannot afford to run away from social media scrutiny. It (Zec) must at least atone and make amends for its misdemeanours rather than casting aspersions on concerned individuals,” Mlilo said.

Election Resource Centre legal and advocacy officer Takunda Tsunga said: “Voter apathy is being caused by the breakdown of the relationship between citizens and Zec. It is brought about by lack of confidence in the electoral commission and its failure to address public concerns surrounding its independence and election administration.”

Tsunga said constitutionally, Zec was mandated to ensure a free, fair and credible 2023 election as the future of Zimbabwe’s democracy depended on that.

Zesn chairperson Andrew Makoni said: “For Zec to deliver a credible election, its systems must be transparent, inclusive and accountable.”

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