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Zanu-PF says not bothered by high Zec fees

by Staff reporter
07 Nov 2022 at 05:32hrs | Views
THE ruling Zanu-PF party yesterday claimed it could afford the US$187 000 fee demanded by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) for the release of a copy of the voters roll in a veiled jab at opposition parties.

This comes after a number of political parties raised alarm at the price quoted to the Election Resource Centre (ERC) by Zec last week for a printed copy of the voters roll.

A number of minority political outfits have since expressed lack of capacity to meet the Zec demand.

Zanu-PF director for information Tafadzwa Mugwadi, however, told NewsDay "there is nothing in this country that is beyond Zanu-PF's capacity".

"Of course, I am not in the finance department or party finance secretary, but you should know that there is nothing in Zimbabwe that is beyond Zanu-PF's capacity and there is nothing that is within Zanu-PF's means which we cannot do," Mugwadi boastfully told NewsDay.

Mugwadi then referred NewsDay to the party's finance secretary, Patrick Chinamasa, who said this was a political issue, which he was not at liberty to comment on.

However, Zanu-PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said Zec should ensure a level playing field to allow participation by various stakeholders.

"The threshold should be lower to ensure a democratic right to everyone. The price will not affect the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) or Zanu-PF, but it affects all political parties. There should not be a barrier to entry," Mutsvangwa said before referring NewsDay to Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who refused to comment on the matter.

"I do not comment to NewsDay. I would rather buy you a drink and have a good chat about other things, but no, I will not make any official comment to NewsDay," he said.

In an interview with NewsDay, ERC director Babra Bhebe said the voters roll should be easily accessible to anyone who needed to verify and check for errors.

"The purpose of stakeholders accessing the voters roll is that they can do an analysis of the voters roll and if there are any anomalies within the voters roll, we then share with the commission for the purposes of improving the quality of the voters roll. Something must be done to reduce the cost of accessing the voters roll," Bhebe said.

Some political parties have expressed concern over the exorbitant fees.

According to Statutory Instrument 143 of 2022, a hard copy of the voters roll shall be US$1 per page of the national voters roll.

The electronic voters roll shall cost US$200.

CCC national deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga said it was logical for Zec to first avail the electronic voters roll which was affordable.

"We don't have the electronic copy of the voters roll and for some reason, Zec is not giving us. Zec should make the electronic copy easily accessible since it is cheaper than the hard copy. Surely, for a national voters roll, we will need a whole truckload and above US$50 000 to get it, which is not making sense at all. Zec should be transparent and allow stakeholders to audit the voters roll," Shiriyedenga said.

National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku said Zec's latest demand was unacceptable.

"This is ridiculous and completely unacceptable. Zec does not seem to be interested in running a fair election. They want to make sure they tighten every screw as they did with nomination fees. This should be changed as soon as possible," Madhuku said.

Source - Newsday Zimbabwe
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