Vote for 2018 poll to be outlined in budget

HARARE - Funding for a key State election in 2018 will be outlined in the forthcoming National Budget, the Finance minister has said.

This comes as the cash-strapped government has to ensure the timely availability of cash for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to prepare and run the forthcoming crunch elections. Zec has said it requires $50 million to acquire data capturing equipment to compile a new national voter register.

But Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa (pictured) declined to outline in the National Assembly financial plans he has drawn up for a road map for the eagerly-awaited 2018 harmonised elections, amid high tension between President Robert Mugabe and opposition parties over the vote.

Eighteen opposition parties under the National Election Reform Agenda (Nera) insist Zec is biased in favour of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF and is run by security agents loyal to Mugabe, charges the agency denies.

The parties want the next vote in 2018 to be overseen by international observers, including the United Nations and are demanding a comprehensive review of election laws they say imperils a free and fair vote.

Harare Central MDC MP Murisi Zwizwai said: “Most of the work for these elections will be done in 2017.  What a measure has the ministry and government taken to ensure that funding has been put aside for us to have a biometric voters’ roll which Zec said will be used in 2018 by your ministry?”

Zec hopes to roll out new technology in an attempt to ensure the 2018 presidential and parliamentary election is transparent and proves the southern African nation can rebuild its image after a disputed 2008 poll unleashed weeks of mass killings that claimed over 200 lives after Mugabe lost to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Independent monitors have routinely reported “ghost” voters, stuffed ballot boxes and other violations in previous votes.

Zimbabwe cannot afford a rerun of the poll mayhem.

This time, once votes are counted, the results from each polling station will be electronically conveyed to the command centre, as well as being publicly displayed outside polling stations. The new system is earmarked to minimise errors and prevent accusations of foul play. Voting will still be on paper ballots, but voter identification will be electronic. Mobile devices at polling stations will not be able to send out any result where total votes exceed the registered voter limit of 1 500 per polling station, a common fraud complaint before, Zec has said.

“The issue of biometric is important because it enables the people in the rural areas to have an opportunity to register and get identity cards. There is supposed to be a new registration which should take place,” Zwizwai said.

“With the poverty that is in our nation, has your ministry been able to set aside funds to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe are able to get new identity cards? For those who lost their identity cards, they have to pay $10 for replacement of identity cards and also that people can get their identity cards in areas that are accessible to their communities than for them to travel long distances.”

Chinamasa said: “The straightforward answer is that all the concerns raised by the honourable member will be taken care of in the 2017 budget.”

With little state election funding, illicit cash is the lifeblood for opposition political parties that collect money from candidates and businessmen, and then spend it to stage rallies, hire helicopters and hand out “gifts” to win votes.

Comments (3)

prof esso - 25 November 2016

There is no money.Waste of money this election.If Chinamasa cant put together $500m for the these elections then forget them.Lack of funds means the election will be compromised.Rurals will be told where to vote for in exchange for food.Twn pple will be lied to on jobs in exchange for votes.Stomach will determine the vote.That wont be a free election.Put it aside and form a unity government.Do it for the pple ,not yo families ,politicians.Pple need jobs .Pour that money into small medium jobs and zesa.These elections will bring more biting sanctions,hunger and violence.This unity gvt must have targets, jobs ,bring back zim to commonwealth.Farming n mining n industry ,finaly agree on election 2023 parameters.That will move us smewhr than elections.

viola gwena - 25 November 2016

The economy right now is really bad and the only thing that helped me financially is trading. If you want to learn how to trade Google Superior Trading System.

yencontis - 28 November 2016

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