By Shingirai Vambe
Harare- Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has failed the test of time by failing to satisfactorily respond to the questions asked by electoral bodies and citizens in the country following discrepancies and anomalies found in the voters roll.
Zimbabwe is few days away from by-elections and 17 months to the harmonised general elections.
Zimbabweans across the country and civic society groups have pinned their hopes on the private organization, Team Pachedu to address and unearth errors found in the voters roll which was used in the disputed 2018 election.
Team pachedu consisting of Zimbabwean citizens has committed themselves in studying the voters roll which they requested and paid for at ZEC, but the commission said the copy which the team got was not verified and on another occasion said it did not come from ZEC.
New opposition political outfit, Citizens Coalition for Change party secretary for elections Ian Makone said the voters roll that the team got was paid for by the party.
The Election Resource Centre (ERC) told Post On Sunday that the voters roll is a document of national interest.
“Whatever happens in whichever format relating to the voters roll, will always arise this national interest. There are my details in that particular voters roll and it’s my right to know what is happening,” Solomon Bobosibunu Musaka said.
He added that pulling down of the ZEC online system of checking your name and polling station by the commission earlier left a lot of questions than answers.
During a press conference at the ZEC offices, the ZEC officials told journalists that citizens should disregard the mobile online system and physically approach their offices as the system may come with its errors.
ERC said if it’s a legitimate system why taking it down? If citizens have questions the commission should respond not to simply brush off the citizens of this country.
“There are more questions to what has been said in both social and mainstream media. Everyone has to explain where they got the voters role from and their analysis.
If Citizens have genuine questions those questions must be answered, that what is provided for in the constitution, it’s a constitutional body they did not establish themselves, it’s us Zimbabweans who made that constitutions,” added Musaka.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has urged the commission to practice international best practices.
“ZESN has noted recent concerns and allegations levelled against the ZEC on several administrative anomalies on the voters roll. The allegations have a bearing on the credibility of Zimbabwe’s elections.
If these allegations are true, ZEC might have faulted the Electoral Act which guide the administration of electoral processes in Zimbabwe, particular Section 22A(2), 33 (4), 35 (2) which stipulates that the commission should consult all interested parties before making any changes” ZESN said.
The electoral body continue to put pressure on government to facilitate the issuance of identity documents which is a constitutional right for every citizen so that they can be eligible to exercise their rights to vote and everything else that requires a national I.Ds.
Zimbabweans across the country COSs and political parties have lost faith and trust in the commission and are pushing to disband ZEC and its commissioners before the 2023 general elections.
Pachedu said it was regrettable that ZEC continues to disown its voters roll, fired its staff and claiming the anomalies to be fake and the public document has been tampered with, under its watch.
Even after raising these pertinent issues, the commission went further to award fidelity Printers and refineries and Printflow contracts to prints ballot papers to be used on March 26 By-elections.
Silaigwana said fidelity had printed 870 550 ballot papers and Printflow 723 750 respectively. None of the stakeholders or political party was consulted nor informed of the contracts.
Zimbabweans across the country have bemoan the gross misconduct by the commission saying it is acting like an interested part or political actor also participating in the election.
Meanwhile 6 days away from the by-elections only 4 journalists have been accredited by ZEC to observe and cover elections.
The commission’s Chief Officer, Silaigwana hasn’t responded to date why they are as a commiaccrediting journalists only in Harare and Bulawayo.