Local civil society organisations (CSOs) have petitioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to avail the Voters’ roll after it recently issued two different figures for first-time registrants captured on its database.
One of the CSOs, Project Vote 263, on Tuesday, demanded access to the consolidated national voters’ roll to enhance monitoring of the voter registration process ahead of 2023 harmonised elections.
ZEC last week disclosed that it only registered 2 000 first-time voters last year, but later revised the figure to 2 971 new voters, with civic groups claiming that the numbers were understated.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday wrote to ZEC on January 4, 2022, on behalf of Project Vote 263demanding both the electronic and print copies of the voters’ roll. ZLHR lawyer Godfrey Mupanga said stated that in line with section 20(4)(a) and (c) of the Electoral Act, ZEC was obliged to keep at least one copy of every voters’ roll at its head office in both print and electronic formats. Mupanga said:
It is only for the sake of convenience that I point to you the provisions of the Electoral Act under which my client wishes to exercise their right to be furnished with copies of the voters’ roll.
As you may be aware, my client is a civic organisation that is currently involved in mobilisation of qualified Zimbabwean citizens and residents to register as voters. Therefore, in terms of section 21(7)(iii), my client wishes to use the voters’ roll for purposes associated with the Electoral Act and not for commercial or other purposes.
Opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said he had also approached ZEC officials, demanding justification for its disclosure that it had only registered less than 3 000 new voters despite several campaigns conducted by CSOs to encourage citizens to register.
He said 2 971 new voters which ZEC said had registered were not commensurate with $11.6 billion the commission was allocated from the national budget to run elections, therefore, it would be better to suspend 2023 elections if there are no electoral reforms.
In a statement on Tuesday, ZEC commissioner Joyce Kazembe said by the end of November 2021, the electoral body had recorded a combined 5 647 000 registered voters for the 2023 elections.
Meanwhile, exiled former Cabinet minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has called for the disbandment of ZEC for the enhancement of democracy in the Southern African country.
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