Opposition questions voters’ roll credibility, says it’s riddled with errors

By Reason Razao | Senior Reporter

OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of availing an unanalysable voters roll with small fonts and several anomalies.

ZEC released the voters’ roll last week after months of complaints by political parties over the delay which they alleged was a ploy to manipulate the data.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare, Wednesday, CCC deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga questioned the roll’s credibility.

She said the document provided by ZEC is in a complex format making it difficult to read the data.

According to Section 21 of the Electoral Act, where a voters roll is provided in electronic form in terms of subsection (3), (4) or (6), its format shall be such as allows its contents to be searched and analysed.

“There is an emphasis on the analysability and searchability of the voters’ roll. Upon receipt of the national voter’s roll for our presidential candidate as CCC we were shocked that the voter’s roll was in PDF format,” Shiriyedenga said.

“As you are aware the PDF format is an output format intended for reading purposes only there is no way you can analyse using PDF, even the searching function is limited.”

According to Shiriyedenga, the PDF format does not allow for a comprehensive search.

“In that regard being a PDF format, what it means that as candidates, for example you are a candidate for ward 18 in Harare, from the national vote’s roll you cannot ascertain the registered voters in that particular ward.

“Even if you want to analyse specific demographics like a specific age group, for example the youth age group 18 to 35 year-olds at a particular constituency or ward, you cannot do that because of the restrictions of that particular file.”

Further, Shiriyedenga said the voter’s roll was unprintable.

“What it means, remember when people do their door-to-door canvassing they will prefer moving around with copies of the voters’ roll, so that people are able to tick whenever they approach people but that is not possible because the voters’ roll is not in a printable format.

“What it means at this stage is you can only view the voter’s roll from a computer or possibly a phone but then because of the huge data there the font becomes too small. So one has to strain his or her eyes.”

She added that the party had already written to ZEC raising the aforementioned issues.

“That is the concern we have so far raised with ZEC in our letter we wrote to them on July 14, to say we have noted a breach in terms of Section 21 subsection 7 of the Electoral Act which speaks to the analysability of the voter’s roll.

“We have since requested ZEC to give us the proper copies of the voters roll in an analysable format, be it the Excel format which they used to give us or even Microsoft access and we will be able to analyse it on that basis.”

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