Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Voters’ roll concerns escalate

By Blessings Mashaya

The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC says it is preparing for the worst-case scenario, amid concerns the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is delaying implementing the biometric voter registration (BVR) process.

Women cast their vote in Zimbabweas Presidential and parliamentary elections in the Southern African Nation in Harare, Wednesday, July, 31, 2013.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi

This comes as civil society organisations have expressed worry over the possibility of Zec reverting to the old voters’ roll due to the limited time left to implement the BVR technology ahead of the 2018 election.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday said there is a possibility that Zec will fail to implement BVR and will likely revert to the old voter register.

“As the country’s largest and most popular political party, the MDC should start preparing for the worst-case scenario, that is a scenario in which the BVR process will be abandoned by Zec mid-stream and we have the elections in 2018 being conducted using the old, manipulated and crooked national voters’ roll,” he told the Daily News.

“It is not too late for us to start strategising and computing a viable and effective Plan B. The Zanu PF regime is essentially renegade, insipidly corrupt and incorrigibly dishonest. Zec is emasculated and virtually powerless in the scheme of things, particularly regarding the running of a free, fair and credible election that can easily pass the test of legitimacy.

“Election 2018 is just around the corner but Zec is still ducking and diving. An election is a process, not an event; a marathon and not a sprint.”

Gutu said the BVR process must be implemented expeditiously to enable all stakeholders to be fully on board in time for next year’s election.

“We have to open our eyes and see what exactly is happening around the BVR process. The people of Zimbabwe have reposed so much hope and trust in us to deliver them from the yoke of Zanu PF slavery and servitude,” he said.

“If we disappoint the people of this mighty and wonderful country, history will, indeed, judge us very harshly,” he said, adding “the danger with a hurried process is that it will be grossly imperfect and thus, inefficient.”

“People need to be fully conversant with what exactly BVR entails. It takes no less than 12 months to fully and adequately prepare for a credible plebiscite.

“There is need for massive and countrywide voter education because BVR is a new concept in Zimbabwe. Time is fast running out and Zec should wake up and smell the coffee.

“It is just too ghastly to contemplate what another disputed election will mean for the majority of Zimbabweans in 2018,” he said.

Recently, opposition parties said they had gathered “overwhelming information” that the commission wants to disenfranchise voters in their urban strongholds by increasing voter registration points in the rural areas. Daily News