BY PROBLEM MASAU/SYDNEY KAWADZA
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has accused politicians of fanning anarchy by alleging that it was mismanaging elections.
Zec also claimed that elections in the country were now a security issue.
It maintains that the poor public response to its voter registration exercises this year was because Zimbabweans do not trust its management of the electoral processes.
Speaking at a pre-delimitation stakeholders meeting with journalists in Harare yesterday, Zec deputy chairperson Rodney Kiwa said the elections had become a national security issue, and very divisive.
“The 2023 harmonised elections are literally around the corner, the election mood is obviously palpable. Elections are also exercises in the management of emotions, and politicians are masters in whipping them. Elections have become a national security issue,” Kiwa said.
“Elections have become a divisive rather than a unifying factor in this country. We have a country to build for future generations, let us all leave a legacy that will be admired by our children which is anchored on tolerance and responsible leadership.”
Soon after the March 26 by-elections, opposition political parties accused Zec of bias, saying the electoral body had denied them the voters roll with biometric information, but had given it to the ruling Zanu PF party.
Addressing the same meeting, Zec chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana denied giving Zanu PF a voters roll with pictures while refusing other political players access.
“The truth is that all political parties are provided with a voters roll for free after nomination. The law allows one to get a free copy from Zec. Sometimes, it is the issue of political posturing.
“Politicians want to gain mileage by misleading the electorate. The truth is that when a person is nominated, he or she is entitled to a voters roll. We also have provisions to get the document at a fee,” Silaigwana said.
Binga North legislator (Citizens for Coalition Change) Prince Dubeko Sibanda shared a voters roll with pictures at the meeting, which he said was available to Zanu PF candidates in the March by-elections.
However, Zec director legal services Shamiso Chahuruva distanced the electoral body from the document, stating that Zec was not allowed by the law to share a voters roll containing
“There is a court judgment on the issue. We are not allowed to share a voters roll with pictures. We do not know where that document originated from,” Chahuruva said.
Meanwhile, Silaigwana said Zimbabwe had a total of 5 795 547 people registered as voters as at May 10 this year.
Zimbabwe held two voter registration exercises, with the first conducted between February 1 and 28, while the second took place from April 11 to 30 this year.
Silaigwana said the number of registered voters was expected to change as the registration process was an on-going exercise.
“There is no enthusiasm in registering to vote. We encourage doing that. Everyone has a responsibility to participate in the country’s democratic processes,” he said.
According to the figures released at the workshop, there are 3 119 085 million female voters in Zimbabwe, representing about 53%, while there are 2 676 462 (46%) male voters registered by May 10 this year.
“This is not the final voters register. Voter registration is continuing and the cleaning of the voters roll is also a continuous process,” he said.
Silaigwana said voter registration would continue at the Zec provincial and district offices throughout the country. Zec has 10 provincial offices and 63 district offices.
He also said the constituency delimitation exercise would begin soon.