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ZEC opens voter's roll for inspection

by Staff reporter
18 Jul 2022 at 08:17hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday opened the national voter's roll for public inspection ahead of the imminent delimitation of constituencies with more than 11 000 inspection centres established countrywide.

Zimbabwe is headed for a new delimitation exercise which can involve a new distribution of constituencies between the provinces, depending on population movements since the last delimitation, and the actual boundaries of these constituencies.

To minimise arguments as this is done, ZEC wants an accurate voters roll. It has spent time this year encouraging citizens unregistered as voters to register, and has had many centres and even officers sitting at desks at multiple locations, to make this easy and has been using the death certificate data from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage to scrub the names of the dead from the rolls.

But despite some serious quality control at ZEC, the possibility still exists that someone who registered is not on the roll, or that a name or address is spelt wrong, or that the dead person removed was someone with a similar name and close number who is still alive. When a voter inspects they can make sure they are on the roll with the correctly spelt name and the right address.

While members of the public can physically visit polling stations to check if they are registered, they can also check their registration status on a mobile phone using *265# for those with Econet or NetOne services.

The inspection centres are the designated traditional polling stations that are used during an election, so just going where you voted last time will find what must be the nearest the inspection desk with a printed roll for you to check.

Zimbabwe has 5,8 million registered voters with 53 percent of them being women.

ZEC has invited both local and international observers to observe the inspection of the voters' roll between 17 and 26 July 2022. Local observers will be required to pay US$10 or equivalent in local currency.

Those from the African continent are supposed to pay US$20 while international observers will be charged US$100. Foreign media houses are required to pay US$50 while the local press is charged US$10 or equivalent in local currency.

Zec has also invited political parties to observe the inspection. In the past there has been a lot of political bickering over the credibility of the voter's roll but ZEC has maintained its transparency over the management of electoral processes.

ZEC spokesperson Commissioner Jasper Mangwana said ZEC has fully deployed its teams as it does not want anyone to be left behind. He said public inspection of the voters' roll is a confidence building process hence the invitation to political parties.

"We are opening up the voters' roll for public scrutiny so that we enhance the credibility of our electoral processes.

"Apart from civil society organisations and the media, we have also invited the political parties to accredit for the voter's roll inspection process," said Comm Mangwana.

"This is an opportunity to address any anomaly that may arise in the voters' roll. We want members of the public to inspect the voter's roll and identify if there are any anomalies so that we address them now as opposed to raising them at the 11th hour when we conduct delimitation and the 2023 harmonised election."

He said the inspections have been deliberately brought closer to communities.

"The commission wants to enhance the credibility of the voters roll and we have established 11 107 centres for the voters roll inspection. These are mostly traditional polling stations for voters," said Comm Mangwana.

"This means these stations are closer to where members of the public reside. These areas are less than 5km from where members of the public live."

Ekhaya Vote spokesperson, Mr Nkosikhona Dibiti, commended ZEC for being transparent with the voters' roll considering that this has been a contentious issue towards an election.

He said the public can use the inspection period to check if their names are in the voters' roll and any other anomalies.

"It's important because it allows all the stakeholders to be involved in the electoral processes. It allows for individuals and political parties to inspect the voters' roll.

"It will allow members of the public to check if there were errors in their names so that they don't get turned away on election day," said Mr Dibiti.

"Also, we had a lot of people who transferred from one polling station to the other during the voter registration period. So, it will also be important that these people check if they have been moved and get the anomalies addressed if they are any," he said.

Mr Dibiti encouraged members of the public to always participate in electoral processes as opposed to just wanting to cast their votes.

Political analyst Mr Teddy Ncube said the opening up of the voter's roll to public scrutiny showed ZEC's commitment towards holding free and fair elections.

"It's very significant at two levels and one of them being that it goes against the publicly held view by some political parties that there is some secrecy and mystery in terms of access to the voters roll for auditing," said Mr Ncube.

"We are actually 11 to 12 months from the next harmonised elections. So, the voters roll has been made available and accessible so that individuals and political parties can pick up irregularities and seek a recourse when there is still time," he said.

Mr Ncube said the inspection was significant as ZEC was also fulfilling its mandate of administering transparent elections.

He said the electoral management body's move will also silence some who have used the voters roll just to seek political relevance.

"It also shows the type of the election that we should anticipate next year. We should expect a transparent election, which is held with integrity and fairness. It gives political parties time to assess the voters roll," said Mr Ncube.

Source - The Herald
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