ZEC sticks to its guns: No independent audit of the voters’ roll

Albert Chavhunduka

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it’s not going to bow down to pressure being exerted on it by independent activists and watchdogs to release the voters’ roll for analysis as this is outside the confines of the law.

This follows media reports which alleged that the electoral body was refusing to release copies of the voters’ roll for analysis which was perceived as an attempt by the electoral body to tamper with the voters’ roll.

Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Barbara Dube recently said that despite their numerous attempts to request for the electronic copies of the current voters’ roll, ZEC refused to furnish them with either the current voters’ roll that was used for the March 26 by-elections.

ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana

In a statement, ZEC Chief Elections Officer Utoile Silaigwana said the electoral body has nothing to hide as what is being alleged in some media circles and warned the public that it is an offense to use the voters’ rolls for other purposes.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would like to inform the public that it will always make available copies of the voters’ roll upon request in accordance with provisions of the law as outlined in Section 21 of the Electoral Act. ZEC has nothing to hide as alleged in some press reports. The Commission is also reminding the public that it is an offence to use provided voters’ rolls for other purposes unconnected to an election as stated in Section 21(7) (iii) of the Electoral Act,” said Silaigwana.

“The voters’ roll which will be used for the upcoming delimitation exercise will be available for inspection to members of the public on dates to be advised after it has been legally closed for delimitation on 30 May 2022. Hard copies will be displayed at all polling stations. The onus will be on each registered voter to check if their names are on the displayed voters’ rolls and whether their details are correctly captured. This is the verification method currently provided by the Electoral Act which the public should undertake.

“Please note that the law does not provide for the independent audit of the voters’ roll hence the Commission will not yield to any amount of pressure exerted on it to act ultra vires its governing Act and Constitutional mandate.”

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