BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
THE Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) yesterday rejected the voters roll released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for use in by-elections set to be held next weekend and demanded the use of the 2018 roll after irregularities were unearthed on the current document.
Data analysts Team Pachedu have exposed irregularities in the voters roll released by Zec, which then claimed that the roll had been tampered with.
Zec on Tuesday announced that it will use separate voters rolls for the local authority and the National Assembly polls.
Addressing a Press conference in Harare, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said the opposition party wanted Zec to use the 2018 voter roll version and the 2008 delimited ward and constituency boundaries.
“We are watching Zec’s conduct very closely in this by-election. This by-election will give us a sense of their readiness and capacity to act lawfully and fairly in the 2023 elections,” Mahere said.
“The CCC has concluded that the current state of the voters roll is not fit for the purposes of the impending by-elections or any other purposes thereof. CCC is making frantic engagements with Zec and is also taking up legal measures to compel Zec to revert to the 2018 voters roll.”
According to the findings by Team Pachedu, people registered under the same house addresses are being registered under different wards. In some areas, there are registered voters who used addresses of central business district offices, some of which have not been in use for some time.
Thousands of other voters were registered under incomplete addresses that do not meet the VR1 requirements for rural voters.
Over 177 000 people have been moved constituencies, with Zec failing to explain the anomalies.
“Zec must show true and sincere commitment to act in accordance with the Constitution or it must be disbanded. The statement made by Zec recently refusing to account for the gross irregularities on the voters roll is unconstitutional and unacceptable,” Mahere added.
CCC deputy secretary for elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga said the opposition party on February 25, 2022 wrote to Zec requesting an update on the printing of ballot papers, suppliers, but did not get a satisfactory answer.
“However, Zec only responded by indicating that the information will be available through publications. Although the publication was subsequently made, it is against the spirit of transparency and good corporate practices that Zec as a public enterprise had no courtesy to even discuss the issue at the multi-party liaison committees,” Shiriyidenga said.
This is not the first time that data analysts have poked holes into the voters roll, which critics say expose election rigging.
In 2018, Team Pachedu revealed that it had uncovered 250 000 names that were either wrong, invalid, duplicates, had incorrect identity numbers and scores of voters registered using addresses open spaces.
Last night, Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana requested questions in writing while Joyce Kazembe, the spokesperson, was not answering her mobile phone.
Political analyst Alex Magaisa warned the opposition party against boycotting elections if Zec refuses to use the 2018 voters roll.
“It depends on the party’s decision, but boycotting the election is not recommended. It will only dampen the spirits of the supporters. It is important to note that the issue of the voter roll is just one of the many tactics that authoritarian leaders could use to discourage the opposition from participating in electoral processes,” Magaisa said.
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