ZEC prints more ballot papers than registered voters
By Nomalanga Moyo
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has defended its decision to print 8
million ballot papers for the July 31st elections despite there being only
6.4 million registered voters.
Addressing a rally in Gweru over the weekend, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said he was worried that “ZEC now wants to print 8 million ballot papers
when there are 6 million registered voters.”
“All such actions undermine the credibility of the vote. I want to tell them
that it undermines the credibility of ZEC,” Tsvangirai told his supporters.
In response to Tsvangirai’s concerns, ZEC chairperson Rita Makarau said the
Commission had allowed a 35 percent margin of error to ensure that ballots
do not run short.
According to online newspaper NewZimbabwe.com, Makarau said ZEC wanted to
avoid the problems which marred the special vote for security services
personnel when more than half of the 69,000 who were expected to cast their
ballots failed to do so due to the shortage of voting materials.
The Commission blamed the special vote chaos on government printers,
resulting in the shortage of ballot papers and Makarau said this time
around, they would not be depending on one printing company.
With just eight days before the crucial poll, the MDC-T is increasingly
concerned that ZANU PF is doing all it can to rig the elections, including
allegations that it is working with the Chinese and Israeli firm Nikuv to
inflate voter figures.
However, Tsvangirai warned that the MDC-T would be closely monitoring ZEC’s
activities to ensure the Commission did not aid ZANU PF in its rigging plot.
“Mugabe wants a peaceful but rigged election. This rigging can only happen
if ZEC chooses to be complicit.
“But our eyes are wide open because we have to protect the vote, we have to
protect the voter and we have to protect the outcome of the vote. This is
important because we have to ensure that the people’s will prevails,” the
Prime Minister was quoted as saying.
On July 19th, the MDC-T lost a court case in which the party was challenging
the number of ballot papers printed by ZEC for the special vote,
particularly the numbers in the police force.
ZEC said 69,000 police had registered for the Special Vote and the MDC-T
said this figure was way above the 44,000 police officers who are paid a
monthly salary, raising fears of ballot stuffing.
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