Voters roll to cost $5

HARARE - Following a chaotic mobile voter registration exercise, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), has introduced new regulations that will see the public buying the voters’ roll for as little as $5.

The amendments, contained in an extraordinary government gazette, also provide for a new affidavit that will allow thousands of people who had been left out from the process because of failure to produce the required proof of residence to register as voters for the upcoming crunch polls.

Although Zec, the body charged with conducting electoral processes in the country, had introduced the new affidavits in the just-ended mobile voter registration process, officials from the Registrar General (RG)’s office did not have the affidavits and in most cases were not commissioners of oath — making the regulation ineffective.

However, its gazetting is significant, as it is now a statutory instrument which will ensure that people who do not own houses have a chance to be registered as voters.

A fresh mobile voter registration exercise is set to be rolled out after President Robert Mugabe yesterday assented to a new constitution.

Through Statutory Instrument 168/2013, Zec has revised the price of the electronic voters’ roll downward to $5 with the constituency voters’ roll now pegged at $10.

The Voter Registration Regulations have been reviewed through Statutory Instrument 168/2013 to provide for a relaxation on requirements for proof of identity and residence.

Statutory Instrument number 68/2013 now provides an entirely new affidavit form as an alternative to letters of confirmation from traditional leaders, councillors and landlords as proof of residence.

It also states “for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the voters’ roll can only be provided as a ward voters’ roll or a constituency voters’ roll”.

Previously, organisations requiring to obtain a voters’ roll for the whole country had to fork out close to $30 000 but under the regulations it is now possible to buy voters’ rolls for all 210 constituencies for just $2 100.

Civil society groups that monitored the just ended mobile voter registration blitz have expressed concern with the attitude of officials from the RG’s office, who were failing to adhere to “stipulated opening and closing times”.

Solomon Zwana, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (Zesn), said although the latest developments are welcome, officials from the RG’s office should follow the statutes.

“We hope that the voters’ roll will now be available in the electronic formula, but we are also concerned with the officials. Are they going to be consistent in using the new affidavits,” he said.

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