Political parties still don’t have the voters roll
By Tichaona Sibanda
With just one week to go before the general elections, political parties have still not been given the national consolidated voters roll.
Joyce Kazembe, the deputy chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), said the Registrar-General’s office was still working on printing the voters roll for all the country’s 1,958 wards.
At a media briefing in Harare on Tuesday about ZEC’s state of preparedness for the July 31st polls, Kazembe explained that once all the registers are printed, they will be transmitted to all the wards in the 210 constituencies.
The briefing was attended by local and foreign observers, including those from SADC, AU and COMESA. Civil society organisations, NGO’s and representatives of political parties also attended.
But the unavailability of the consolidated voters roll for the whole country is raising tensions between political parties and ZEC.
Last week, the MDC-T’ secretary-general Tendai Biti said by now the RG’s office should have handed over the voters roll to ZEC for onward transmission to political parties contesting the poll.
Political parties are obliged to inspect and audit the voters’ roll and then sign off the one that will be used for the elections. Biti said they were aware of the shenanigans around the voters’ roll, claiming that it was the new theatre of vote rigging.
The registration of voters ended on 9th July with the Registrar-general, Tobaiwa Mudede revealing this week that a total of 6.4 million voters are eligible to vote in the elections.
He refuted claims of vote rigging saying it was impossible to do this using the voters’ roll. But that has not allayed fears of manipulation of the roll following persistent accusations that an Israeli company, Nikuv International Projects, was working with Mudede to rig the elections on behalf of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.
Nikuv, which specialises in population registration and election systems, is accused of providing technical support to the former ruling party in order to manipulate the voters’ roll.
Quoted in the South African Mail and Guardian newspaper Nikuv has said the allegations that they are helping to rig the Zim vote are untrue.
At the ZEC briefing Kazembe said ballot papers will be sent to all constituencies by Thursday and said that there will be enough polling stations for people to cast their votes easily.
She said each polling station will have enough space to accommodate three to four voters at any given time during the twelve hours of voting.
There will be three translucent boxes in each station, clearly marked for the Presidential, House of Assembly and Local Authority election.
Voting will be conducted between 7am and 7pm but if there are people in queues after the 12 hour deadline passes, they will still be allowed to vote.
‘We will ask security personnel to put a marker on the last person standing in a queue so that they will be able to cast their votes. Anyone wanting to join the queue after 7pm will not be allowed to vote,’ she said.
The electoral body said it has accredited 18,000 local observers to monitor the poll.
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