Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Avail electronic voters’ roll before polls: Zesn

Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba
Zec chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba

In a statement following their own independent audit of the voters’ roll which concluded that there were not so many irregularities on it as given to stakeholders by Zec, Zesn chairperson Andrew Makoni said because they do not have it in electronic format they could not establish if the Priscilla Chigumba-led electoral body’s de-duplication process had not had an impact on the final roll.

“Zesn was not able to assess the impact of the de-duplication process itself as the Zec has not provided an electronic copy of the 2018 Preliminary Voters’ Roll or the Exclusion List so in the interest of transparency Zesn encourages the Zec to release these documents to interested stakeholders,” the statement reads in part.

The elections monitoring body also said it was evident that the Zec continues to make revisions to the 2018 voters’ roll making the Zesn findings inconclusive.

“For example, there are 11 344 more registrants on the List of Polling Stations released by Zec on 7 July 2018 than on the 2018 voters’ roll.

“Zesn calls on the Zec to provide political parties and observer groups with the version of the voters’ roll that will be issued to polling stations and used on election day, “Makoni said.

The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance has particularly been at the forefront in demanding that Zec releases the roll before polling day in line with the dictates of the Electoral Act.

According to Zesn, more than two million voters who appeared on the 2013 preliminary voters’ roll failed to find their way onto the 2018 biometric voters’ roll (BVR).

It concluded that the 2018 voters’ roll was way better than that used in 2013 and could have resulted in the removal of the problematic ghost voters that hogged the limelight in that poll.

“Overall, Zesn finds that the 2018 voters’ roll received on June 18 is an improvement over the 2013 preliminary voters’ roll.

“2 676 395 (45 percent registrants on the 2013 preliminary voters’ roll could not be matched by national ID number to the 2018 voters’ roll and, therefore, are likely to no longer be registered.

“Over 2 470 156 (43 percent ) of registrants on the 2018 voters’ roll are likely to be first time registrants as their ID numbers are not included in the 2013 voters’ roll,” Zesn said in its findings.

“Overall, rural registration decreased by 436 457 (10 percent) while urban registration increased by 230 218 (14 percent,” Zesn said.

The report raised red flags, saying over 5 percent of the registered voters using the same address were posted to different wards, which did not make sense.

“263 998 (5 percent) registrants registered at addresses for which there are registrants are assigned to different wards.

All registrants with the same address should be assigned to the same ward,” the report read.

Zec must avail the final voters’ roll to observers and political party agents, poll observer group, the Election Resource Centre (ERC), has said.

Meanwhile, ERC director Tawanda Chimhini, said the provisional voters’ roll must also be posted outside the polling stations.

“We need to help the election Commission put up the necessary infrastructure that guarantees that the final voters’ roll is the roll that will be used on polling day.

“The voters’ roll that will be used on the polling day must be availed to observers and political party agents so that when voting is happening there is independent verification of people voting.

“The final voters’ roll can also be posted outside the polling stations,” Chimhini said.

Zec has been embroiled with civic groups and the opposition political parties on the voters’ roll.

Chimhini added that there is need to champion transparency and accountability in finalising the voters’ roll.

“There is need to ensure that all the subsequent processes in coming up with the final voters’ roll are characterised by transparency, accountability and verifiability of everything that has happened in the past,” the ERC executive director said.

He, however, acknowledged that there have been some improvements around the voters’ roll that Zec released compared to the previous ones.

“While we acknowledge that indeed some issues have been addressed the things that are being picked up as challenges are things that we hope that the election Commission will be able to pick up quickly in finalising this roll,” Chimhini said. Daily News.