BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
JUSTICE minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has defended the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), saying the electoral body does not remove voters from their polling stations.
This followed reports that the country’s voters roll is in shambles after independent statisticians, Team Pachedu, in February this year accused Zec of illegally moving 170 000 voters from their original constituencies and wards in the voters roll that was used for the March 26 by-elections.
Responding to queries on the voters roll in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Ziyambi said: “Zec advises that it is not aware of any formal report wherein it has been alleged that it has moved voters from their registered polling stations without their consent. What the commission is aware of are the powers granted to it by section 35 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), which provides that a voters roll may be altered by the commission at any time to correct any error or omission, or to change the original name or address of the voter to an altered name or address; which is done by the voter registration officer at any time by correcting any obvious mistake or omission, or by changing on the written application of a voter, the original name or address of the voter to an altered name or address.”
Ziyambi said in terms of the Electoral Act, notice of alteration of a voter is published in the Government Gazette by the commission or voter registration officer.
He said the Act also provides that in the event that the voter is aggrieved, they may appeal against a decision to a designated magistrate of the province on whose voters roll the voter is, or prior to the alteration registered.
“The commission recommends that where there are known incidents of voters being moved from their polling stations without their consent, a formal report must be filed at Zec provincial offices, or an appeal of any decision of an alteration must be made by the commission or voter registration officer to a designated magistrate within the affected voter’s province.”
Ziyambi was also grilled over the issue of the diaspora vote.
“There is currently no legislative framework that regulates voting by citizens in the diaspora. If a person requires to vote, he has to be registered in a constituency within Zimbabwe whereby the residential requirements is among the voter registration requirements provided for by our electoral law,” Ziyambi said.
Last month, the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda crossed swords with fellow Zanu PF members when he suggested that the Constitution must be amended to allow millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to vote in the 2023 elections.
“It is also important to note that the residence requirement is not a requirement strictly for persons in the diaspora as it also affects those who live in Zimbabwe. In this regard, the residence requirements are not directed or targeted to exclude the diaspora vote as is the assumption by many,” he said.
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