Politics

Voters’ roll fiasco: Zec blames parties


BY SHARON BUWERIMWE/LORRAINE MUROMO

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has accused political parties for causing discrepancies on the voters’ roll by allegedly issuing affidavits with same addresses to their supporters during the voter registration exercise.

Zec has been under fire after it emerged that as many as 40 registrants were sometimes registered under one residential address or none at all, but the elections management body said it was not at fault.

Data experts studying the voters’ roll have unearthed several anomalies on the voters’ roll, among them names of 3 253 people aged 100 years or more, including 11 who are older than the oldest known surviving person on earth in the Guinness World Book of Records.

In a statement yesterday, Zec has, however, disowned the voters’ roll which was recently leaked, saying the document was tampered with so as to discredit the elections management body.

Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said political parties, without naming any, were corruptly issuing affidavits with the same addresses to their supporters to register to vote resulting in the confusion.

He said investigations showed that some affidavits had as many as 40 people sharing the same residential address.

“Some politicians are the chief culprits of this problem. The commission has now and again deliberated on this issue in our multi-party liaison committees, but to no avail,” Silaigwana said.

“They are the ones who facilitate their supporters to be registered and some of them have been doing so during the current voter registration blitz and have set up desks where they commission affidavits for their supporters for presentation to our registration officers as proof of residence

“Our registration is done offline and there is no way the commission can tell that there is a high number of people who have registered under the same address.”

Silaigwana said the commission did not have the capacity to determine whether the addresses provided were genuine.

“As long as the proof of residence provided meets the requirements of the law, Zec is obliged to register that voter. The Legislature also seems to have taken this into account and provided for objection by voter procedures in the law,” he said.

“In terms of sections 28 of the Electoral Act, a voter may object to the retention of any name of the voters’ roll of the constituency in which the object’s voter is registered and he or she may request the removal of such a person’s name from the voters’ roll. The onus to object to the registration of any name on the voters’ roll is, therefore, squarely on those who are aggrieved.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa yesterday challenged Zec to name and shame the political parties involved in the alleged scam.

“Zanu PF, as the ruling party, stands by the laws of the land which it played a principal role is sponsoring and voting through Parliament, laws which the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) who is its party leader assented to,” Mutsvangwa said.

“Clearly, the averted statement shows the law being transgressed. If it is true, then Zec and other associated law enforcement agencies should bring culprits to book regardless of party affiliation.”

But Citizens Coalition for Change interim vice-president Tendai Biti rubbished Zec’s claims, saying: “This is the body that has not been playing fair and independent. So it should zip its mouth shut. The key issue here is that the resident requirement would then make sense and they place difficulties on citizens.

“So, Zec can’t attack the lawyers and commissioners that are trying to help people that are desperate.”

MDC Alliance leader Douglas Mwonzora said: “It’s not the fault of the political party at all….Anyway, phone the spokesperson of the party. I no longer want to comment.”

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