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Release the voters roll

16 Apr 2023 at 18:50hrs | Views
The harmonised elections are likely going to be held between 31st of July and 31 August 2023. That means we are only left with about three months to go to the polls.

The most worrisome thing is the refusal of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the voters roll.

The Chairperson is quoted stating that the Electoral Commission is unable to publish the voters' roll as it has the responsibility to protect the data of voters in accordance with the Data Protection.

However Section 21 (3) of the Electoral Act legally authorises the Commission to within a reasonable period of time provide any person who requests it, and who pays the prescribed fee a copy of any voters' roll either in printed or in electronic form as the person may request.

Already there are unsolicited political messages that are highly targeted being sent on people's mobile phones that a These unsolicited political messages violate the Cyber and Data Protection Act which governs the use of personal biometric data.

Going to this 2023 election without the opposition getting the voters roll is like participating in a football tournament  with a makeshift squad.

Has the opposition done enough to push for these electoral reforms as we see the resistance of  Zimbabwe Electoral Commission?

All the frantic efforts to push for these electoral reforms have hit a brick wall. Going to the general elections with such an uneven playing field surely will produce another disputed election like what we have witnessed before.

As it stands the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is compromised and militarised. The opposition must call for its immediate disbandment as it is likely to usher Emmerson Mnangagwa with another term in the office.

It's time for the opposition to play its cards on the chest and not to be enticed to contest a general election characterised by such crude conditions which repel efforts to hold a free and fair election.

Last week we saw the SADC Electoral Advisory Council meeting with election stakeholders in Zimbabwe under the pre-election assessment. Hope very fundamental issues to deal with election theft and uneven playing field were discussed.

It is on record that more than sixty opposition rallies were cancelled by Zimbabwe Republic Police citing flimsy reasons.  The State television does not even give space to the opposition so as the print media which always reports negatively about the opposition.

There is indiscriminately and selectively application of the law. The continued incarceration of Job Sikhala who is suffering in the dungeons of terror, torture and abuse amounts to dirty tactics towards free and fair elections.

The regime knows that Job Sikhala is a cog in the opposition circles and the regime does not want him out. This kind of treatment is so barbaric and does not derseve a place in the democratic space.

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Twitter- @Leokoni

Source - Leonard Koni
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