Treasury fails to release Zec funds

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says its request for $32 million from Treasury to start voter registration has not been granted.

Zec acting chairperson Joyce Kazembe urged legislators during a working workshop last week to help her organisation lobby the executive and Finance ministry so they can urgently release funds for voter registration.

“While we approached the ministry of Finance last August requesting $32 million to undertake voter registration and help compile the voters’ roll, to date we have not received any cent. The money we are using to run our programmes is coming from funds we got from some international organisations. We are appealing to you to help us on this issue,” said Kazembe.

“Voter registration is the first step in preparing for an election and it is your duty as Members of Parliament to encourage people in your constituency to register themselves,” said Kazembe.
 
The Kazembe-led Zec team consists of commissioners Theophilus Gambe, Bessie Nhandara, Geoff Feltoe, Sibongile Ndlovu, Mkhululi Nyathi and Pat Makoni.

Zec held a two-day workshop with MPs discussing the Electoral Act and educating them on how to conduct themselves during the pre-election period, voting period and post electoral time.

She said since coming into office in 2009, the Zec board has been struggling to get funds from Treasury.
“Since we were sworn in in 2009, we did not receive enough money to support our work. We only got $5,5 million and this has resulted in us failing to start voter registration,” said Kazembe.

He said Zec was concerned with the state of the voters’ roll. “It is your duty to inform people in your constituencies on the need to be registered. Dead people can be removed from the voter’s roll if their relatives bring their death certificates.”

Kazembe said the removal of dead people; absent or disqualified voters from the voters’ roll, can be done on the basis of a death certificate or a burial order by the relatives of the deceased.

“There is now an additional procedure for the removal of dead voters from the roll.

A relative such as parent or son or daughter or councillor or chief or headman can make a sworn statement that the voter is dead. The constituency registrar can then produce the statement before a magistrate and have that person removed from the roll,” said Kazembe.

A similar procedure can be used to have voters removed from the roll on the basis that they have been absent from their constituencies for more than 12 months or have left with the intention of living permanently outside the country.

The Electoral Amendment Act section 36 allows the President, on the advice from Zec, to order new registration of voters. This exercise will last for between 60 days and six months but Zec can extend the period.

Voters on the old voters’ roll will be transferred to the new roll by simply presenting themselves to the constituency registrar and producing proof of identity. New voters will have to go through the normal registration process.

Zec is an independent election management board responsible for all elections and referendums in the country. Some of its functions are to prepare, conduct and supervise elections for the office of the President, Senate, House of Assembly and local authorities.

Zec is also responsible for the delimitation of wards, constituency boundaries, directing controlling, supervising the registration of voters, designing, printing and distributing ballot papers.

The country has 5,8 million registered voters.


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