'2018 poll being rigged now'

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party are already in the process of rigging the 2018 elections by denying citizens their right to vote, constitutional law expert Tendai Biti said.

This comes as citizens have challenged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s decision to stop voter registration, citing lack of funds.

Biti, a lawyer and opposition leader, said the electoral body’s excuse was flimsy, adding that it was a matter of unwillingness.

“We have a disaster that is unfolding and the disaster is that the 2018 election is already being stolen. And part of the means in respect of it being stolen is the disenfranchisement of the citizen through the absence of voter registration,” he said at a citizen’s symposium in Harare last week.

“The Electoral Act is very clear. It says voter registration is an ongoing process. The Zec is not registering people, the excuse that is being given is that there is no funding, and true there are no funds, but that’s just an excuse, if they wanted to do it they would do it, because all it takes in the process of voter registration is just an ordinary word processor, your ID and a person who enters into the database.

“And remember the office of the Registrar-General now has a database of all of us, birth certificates, national ID cards, it has a very updated database in terms of issuing passports, in respect of deaths. It should be very easy for Zec to use that database.”

Biti’s statement came after one of the citizens Talent Chademana had asked a question on whether citizens will be given enough time to register to vote since Zec had stopped the process.

“They stopped voter registration, how are we going to challenge that? I have a friend who launched an application to be given the voters’ roll used in the 2013 elections, since 2013 that case has not been finalised. Considering how slow the court processes are, is there a possibility that we can challenge this in time?” Chademana asked.

Biti said: “They are not interested up to now, 20 months to the next election, we do not have sight of the voter registration that was used in July 2013. We have to take the fight to Sadc, we needed to make noise to the UN Security Council because the Security Council can make things happen in our country.”

During the discussions, one of the citizens said only seven young people aged 18 and 21 were registered to vote while 42 of the registered voters were aged over a 100 years, according to a Harare North ward voters’ roll he had seen.

This brought to question the issues of voter apathy by the youth in Zimbabwe, as statics report that only 4,5 percent of Zimbabwean youths register to vote based on recent elections.

Another lawyer, Fadzayi Mahere, said if the Diaspora were interested in voting, they must not wait until the last minute to challenge their right to vote,

“The Diaspora vote is always an issue come election time but the problem is that they wait until two weeks to the election, but there won’t be enough time. They need to act now, find a lawyer in Zimbabwe now to take up your case, get that application launched today.”

Comments (1)

Are we surprised?

Pieter Herbst - 27 September 2016

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