Source: ZEC blundering exposed – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 12, 2017
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec) shortcomings have been further exposed in the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise, with some polling stations falling in wrong constituencies, raising questions over the electoral management body’s capacity to run next year’s elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA/VENERANDA LANGA
MDC-T yesterday expressed concern at Zec’s readiness for the polls after the Mabelreign Girls High School polling station was wrongly placed in Epworth constituency, instead of Harare West.
MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu told journalists that besides the glaring blunders on constituency boundaries, the registration exercise itself was slow, with several people turned away under unclear circumstances.
“The nationwide voter registration blitz kicked off to a slow start yesterday in what is exposing Zec as ill-prepared to run the 2018 elections,” he said.
The MDC-T accused Zec of turning away many people in Harare after a systems failure, in what Gutu said was a planned attempt to disenfranchise potential voters.
“The unpreparedness of Zec continues to stand out throughout the process. At St Aidan’s Primary School in Chitungwiza South yesterday, hundreds of voters were turned away after the electoral management body said their computers were failing to read the venue as a registration centre,” he said, seemingly contradicting himself on saying the exercise had started at a slow pace.
“At Seke 11 Primary School in the same constituency, the headmaster of the school turned away the Zec officials who had arrived with their equipment, saying he had not received any circular from his superiors that the school was a registration centre.
Hundreds of prospective voters were left stranded as a result of that confusion.”
Zec deputy chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana said more than 40 000 people had been registered using the BVR system at its 63 static centres.
Silaigwana told NewsDay at Parliament Building that this number did not include people registered at mobile registration centres.
He had appeared together with Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau to launch the BVR exercise at Parliament Building to enable MPs to register as voters.
The registration of MPs will begin today at the Parliament car park.
Makarau told MPs that as sworn-in public officials, they also qualified to be commissioners of oath.
“All MPs are commissioners of oath by virtue of being MPs, as well as all lawyers. But I urge MPs not to charge any fees, when they certify affidavits. Village heads are not ex-officio commissioners of oath,” she said.
Makarau said Zec had been registering an average of 114 people per kit in Harare.
She said there were more than 900 registration centres in Harare, adding Zec would endeavour to increase the number of registration centres in Bulawayo to ensure they are near the people.
”In Harare, we are registering 114 people per kit compared to other areas, where we are registering two, nine to 26 people per day. We are going to deploy the Zimbabwe Republic Police to enforce electoral laws at registration centres,” Makarau said.
She said Zec would set up registration centres in the capital in areas where they believe the majority of people flock to like Copacabana, Market Square and Simon Muzenda