Source: Zec warns against voter intimidation – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 1, 2018
ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) acting chairperson, Emmanuel Magade has warned people against intimidating others by demanding serial numbers of their voter registration slips, saying that the slips serve no purpose on voting day.
BY STAFF REPORTER
In a statement yesterday, Zec said the voter registration slips are confidential to the registrant and forcing people to show their registration slips and recording their serial numbers is tantamount to intimidation.
“The commission has received reports that there are individuals forcibly demanding voter registration slips or details, thereof, such as serial numbers from registrants, which action is tantamount to intimidation,” he said.
“Following numerous complaints and reports concerning the collection of serial numbers of some registrants’ voter registration slips by certain individuals, Zec wishes to state categorically that voter registration slips issued after registration are only to confirm the successful registration status of a voter. The slips are personal and confidential to the registrant and not anyone else.”
This comes in the wake that in some parts of the country, people are allegedly being ordered to produce their biometric voter registration slips, after being told that if they do not get the serial numbers recorded, they will not receive food aid and agricultural inputs.
Magade said Zec would endeavour to ensure that the elections this year are free and fair, and to ensure that every process during the electoral cycle, including registration of voters, compilation of the voters’ roll, campaigning, and polling, are not tainted or undermined by acts of intimidation and impropriety.
“Zec is also concerned about messages on the collection of serial numbers of voter registration slips circulating on WhatsApp purportedly generated by Zec on January 24, 2018 as a Zec Press release. Zec categorically denies originating these messages and urges those involved to desist from such malpractices,” he said.
The issue of intimidation using voter registration slips was discussed in Parliament last week, with opposition MPs saying their constituents had been lodging complaints over the anomaly.
The Elections Resource Centre (ERC), in a statement, said the continued demand for voter registration slips’ serial numbers was being perpetrated by traditional leaders and Zanu PF supporters in areas such as Masvingo, Zaka, Bikita, Chivi, Mwenezi, Gutu and Chiredzi.
Other civic society groups said in some areas, the book where serial numbers are being recorded is called book of life, meaning if your name is not found there you may not receive food aid or government farming inputs.