Zec excludes voters' pics from roll

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) announced yesterday that it will exclude pictures of voters from the voters’ roll after the national elections management body received unspecified threats from aggrieved political parties at the weekend.

This comes as Zec chairperson and High Court judge Priscilla Chigumba was subjected to abuse and vitriol by opposition zealots who accused her of tilting the electoral field in favour of Zanu PF.

Addressing journalists at the Zec headquarters yesterday, Chigumba claimed that the unnamed party officials had threatened to follow up on registered voters, forcing the commission to withhold certain details of voters such as their images from the roll.

“Following threats by some unscrupulous individuals to track down their victims door to door, the Commission will not issue the voters’ roll with photographs in an effort to protect voters.

“However, the Commission will print voters’ rolls with photographs for every polling station. Section 20(5) of the Electoral Act states that in the event of any discrepancy between an electronic copy and a printed copy of a voters’ roll, the latter shall be deemed to be the authentic record of the voters’ roll.

“We had initially said that we are willing to provide the photos but firstly, our lawyers advised that that would be a violation of the individual rights to privacy and secondly, in the light of threats which we actually encountered at the weekend, we have decided that because it is not a requirement in the law, we have decided not (to) include that because we would not be able to guarantee our voters privacy.

“So, we will not distribute any voters’ roll with photographs, the one we have already given is the final voters roll,” Chigumba told journalists.

She strongly refuted allegations that the consolidated voters’ roll was fake because it did not have photographs of the voters.

  “Zimbabwean voters and all Zimbabweans are entitled to having certain details included in the final voters’ roll but having a picture or photograph on the voters’ roll isn’t one of those things the Constitution mandates should be included in the voters’ roll.

  “The commission is disturbed by malicious allegations that the voters’ roll issued to stakeholders is fake. Zec is of the view that such allegations are deliberately meant to cause alarm and despondency among the generality of the Zimbabwean populace.

“The public is being advised that the voters’ roll being distributed by the commission is authentic.

“Zec is issuing a roll which is analysable and searchable. The roll conforms to provisions of Section 20 (2) of the Electoral Act which stipulates that entries should have; the voter’s first and last names, date of birth, national registration number and sex; the place where the voter ordinarily resides and such other information as may be prescribed or as the Commission considers appropriate,” explained Chigumba.

Meanwhile, Zec has set the deadline for applications for postal voting for June 28.

The law allows Zec to administer postal voting to members of the uniformed forces or electoral officers on duty on Election Day as well government officials and their spouses on duty outside the country.

Chigumba said those who miss the deadline would not be eligible to vote.

“The commission has already held meetings with the affected stakeholders.

“A workshop to train those who will administer postal voting is currently underway. Postal voting applications will close on 28 June 2018 and those who miss the deadline will not be able to vote,” she said.

With Zimbabwe fast approaching the July 30 elections, Zec has come under the spotlight, mainly from the opposition, which claims that the national elections management body needs to be reformed ahead of the crucial polls.

On June 5, thousands of opposition supporters — mainly drawn from the MDC Alliance — marched in Harare to press for a raft of reforms which include a change of personnel at Zec, as well as transparency in the printing and distribution of ballot papers.

Next month’s elections have generated such interest among both ordinary Zimbabweans and ambitious politicians alike, that a staggering 22 opposition leaders are set to contest President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidential plebiscite.

Comments (1)

we need the real thing

joy - 1 July 2018

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