Sunday 4 June 2023


THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has assured the nation that it will rectify a number of anomalies that were uncovered during the recently ended voters’ roll inspection exercise with the electoral body also saying it was adequately financed to conduct this year’s elections in August.

In an interview with Sunday News on Friday, Zec Chief Elections Officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana likened the voter inspection exercise to an audit where Zec will then take the results of the audit and effect the necessary changes.

“We would want to assure the general populace that they need not to press panic buttons at all. All those that are registered, we are assuring them that they will find their names in the voters’ roll come voting day. As Zec we deliberately took the voters’ roll out to the people so that the voters’ themselves, who are the owners of the roll, can do an audit of the voters’ roll, check their names if they are there, if they are correctly spelt, if all their details are there and so forth,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He added: “After any audit, if it picks up an anomaly, the anomaly has to be rectified. It is therefore for that reason that we wanted the voters themselves to point out such anomalies so that Zec then corrects them. We are thus now cleaning the voters’ roll, so there must be no fear at all.”

Mr Silaigwana said the process was necessary especially after the delimitation exercise where there had been a number of changes in wards, constituencies and transfers of voters. He said political players should desist from using the voters’ roll as a political tool, noting that there was a need for social cohesion and the avoidance of overly sensationalising a process that was clear and guided by the country’s laws.

“What we are saying is that the issue of the voters’ roll must not be used as a political tool, for example there are some politicians here in Bulawayo, who went on social media claiming that their names were not on the voters’ roll but when they checked with our offices, they found that all was in order. We especially appeal to the political leaders and opinion leaders that we need not cause alarm and despondency by over sensationalising a purely electoral process, which is administrative and if there are any anomalies they can still be corrected,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He reiterated that once they come up with the final voters’ roll that will be used during the elections and the sitting of the nomination court, every candidate that successfully files their papers will be given the voters’ roll free of charge.

“Now that the voters’ roll has been closed, Zec will now effect all the corrections, update the voters’ roll so that we come up with a final voters’ roll that is credible and usable for the elections. I must also point out that while we say the voters’ roll closes two days after the proclamation of the election date, voter registration does not stop but those who register after the two days will not be able to participate in this election. Surprisingly, we already have some people coming to us saying we should give them the voters’ roll, but we just finished the inspection. Give us time first so that we update it and come up with the final roll.

“By the way all candidates who will successfully file their papers at the nomination court are going to be gifted with the voters’ roll and we have done that for every election,” said Mr Silaigwana.

He noted that the members of the public can still check their details on the voters’ role electronically, by dialising *265# on the mobile phone platform. They can also use the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) facility on the Zec website or the physical copy that will be supplied to every candidate.

Mr Silaigwana also encouraged potential candidates to immediately start getting their nomination forms and adhering to the set requirements so that come nomination day, they are not found wanting. He said candidates were free to engage Zec officials well before the nomination day so that they were advised on the processes to follow.

“In the case of nomination fees, we refer the public to Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022, which sets the fees, for example if you are a serious contender wanting to participate in the Presidential elections, you pay US$20 000 or equivalent in the local currency, using the prevailing rate.

“However, regarding the complaints on these fees being high, it’s like the issue of electoral reforms, many people say Zec must do this and that, but people forget that Zec is not a legislator, what Zec can do is to recommend certain legislative reforms, but it is up to the people in parliament to legislate or not to legislate,” said Mr Silaigwana.

“The beauty of elections is that everything is in terms of the law, they are not a logical matter, they are a legal matter.”

Mr Silaigwana allayed fears of insufficient funding saying they were adequately funded by Treasury for the holding of the elections and do not expect any complications specially with the availability of election material and the holding of the elections in general.

“I can assure the nation that Treasury is funding us, there is no shortage of ink or the paper for the ballot paper. I can comfortably say that all is in place, we will not have any shortage of election material; we are ready to conduct these elections.

After the nomination courts we will then start the designing, printing of the ballot papers because we will now be knowing all the candidates who are participating. We will also do stakeholder engagement where we will engage everyone, we don’t want an information gap,” he said. Sunday News


Post a Comment