Mudede usurping Zec powers on voters' roll

HARARE - Rights lawyers have accused Registrar-General of Voters Tobaiwa Mudede of usurping the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s powers in the handling of the voters’ roll.

In a letter  to Zec chairperson Rita Makarau dated May 29 seen by the Daily News, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights (ZLHR) lawyer Bryant Elliot complained about the RG office’s active role in the handling of the voters’ roll.

“We consider that the attached letter and annexure indicates, with respect, a serious ignorance of the law on the part of the Registrar-General of Voters,” the letter says.

“He is obviously under the misapprehension that he is solely in charge of the voters’ roll and that he sets the conditions under which it is purchased. This attitude materially undermines and seeks to diminish the role of the Commission in the conduct of elections.”

This comes after Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa took aim at Zec, whose conduct he says compromises the holding of a free and fair election.

Dabengwa, a presidential candidate in the upcoming election, has been trying to get an electronic copy of the voters’ roll since November last year.

But despite promises by Zec, nothing has materialised.

This forced the liberation war hero to approach the High Court seeking an order to compel Zec to provide him with the Consolidated National Voters’ Roll in an electronic format which makes it possible for him to analyse the document.

On the voters’ roll, Section 21 (3) of the Electoral Act states that: “The Commission shall within a reasonable time provide any person who requests it, and who pays the prescribed fee, with a copy of any voters’ roll, either in printed or in electronic form as the person may request.”

But this has not happened despite repeated requests by Dabengwa and his Zapu party.

Section 21(3) of the Electoral Act, Elliot says in his letter to Makarau, states that it is Zec which provides the voters’ roll.

“If any conditions are to be attached to the purchase of the voters’ roll, then in terms of the proviso (ii) to Section 21(7) it is the Commission which imposes these,” Elliot’s letter says.

“We are very concerned that the Commission can consider itself to be subservient to the Registrar-General of Voters in this way especially as it is clearly not in accordance with the law,” the letter says. - Tendai Kamhungira


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