The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) needs $60 million to prepare for and hold the 2018 harmonised elections due in a few months time.

The commission is looking through the voters roll to ensure there are no double entries and in preparation for the inspection of the voters roll by end of April.

Speaking to the ZBC News in Harare, ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscillah Chigumba said the money is required voter education, the printing of ballot papers and other logistics.

“We have a deficit of $60 million and we are grateful to the government for giving us $900 000. We are also grateful to our funding partners, the UNDP provided forex and we are working on training manuals where we still need support to ensure we are ready for inspection of the voters roll,” Justice Chigumba said.

The commission faces a mammoth task of printing a ballot paper with names of 97 political parties. She added that the printing of ballots should not be a challenge as strict protocols are followed in selecting the company so that the process is not compromised.

She however declined to disclose if the printing company is local or not saying it is a security issue.

She also spoke about allegations of militarisation of the electoral body, saying they are unsubstantiated accusations as only a small percentage of the employees are former military personnel.

“Those complaints of militarisation of ZEC are unfounded. Former military personnel constitute less than 15 percent of the number of ZEC employees. There is no law against their getting employment in the electoral body,” she said.

Justice Chigumba also clarified the challenge of polarisation of the media which makes ZEC operations difficult if they are not dealt with as some political parties accuse the independent media of being pro-opposition while the state media is pro-establishment.

“The polarisation of the media is another challenge. Now there is a media monitoring committee is in place to ensure media houses comply with the law that they should be non-partisan,” she said.
Meanwhile, Justice Chigumba said the visiting SADC preliminary observer group is happy that some of its recommendations were incorporated into law or rectified administratively.