Zimbabwe polls to go ahead without provision of updated voters’ roll by electoral commission

Source: Zimbabwe polls to go ahead without provision of updated voters’ roll by electoral commission

The general elections in Zimbabwe are going ahead in about a week’s time.

A High Court in Zimbabwe dismissed an appeal by Citizens Coalition for Change for access to the updated voters' roll stating the matter was "not urgent".

A High Court in Zimbabwe dismissed an appeal by Citizens Coalition for Change for access to the updated voters’ roll stating the matter was “not urgent”.
Zinyange Auntony/AFP

This after the opposition failed to obtain an up-to-date voters’ roll from the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC).

High Court Judge Never Katiyo dismissed a court appeal by Citizens Coalition for Change’s (CCC) chief elections officer, Ian Makone, on Monday, saying it was “not urgent”.

Makone had sought a directive for the ZEC to provide an up-to-date copy of the voters’ roll and a final list of polling stations.

Denial of access to the voters’ roll has dented the credibility of elections in Zimbabwe since the turn of the millennium, and it is destined to be the same once more.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, CCC spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said, “regrettably, they’re keeping it a secret [voters’ roll] despite their constitutional obligation to release it”.

The CCC legal team had since requested an “audience before the judge on the question of urgency”, according to a letter from CCC lawyers to the Registrar of the Electoral Division of the High Court.

Team Pachedu – a transparency, responsibility, and accountability pro-democracy organisation – argued the ZEC was in violation of Section 21 of the Electoral Act which instructed the ZEC to avail the voters’ roll “to be used in the election”.

Team Pachedu raised fears the reason behind keeping the voters’ roll a secret could be linked to attempts at rigging the polls.

So going to an election under these conditions would result in confusion for voters.

The organisation said:

There are many new polling stations and thousands of voters have been moved to different polling stations.

It also raised anomalies in the voters’ roll given to parties last month, for example, the recycling of identification numbers, with thousands of identity cards linked to individuals in the 2013 elections now associated with different names in 2023.

They also noted “strange patterns, such as deceased individuals, duplicate registrations, and a high concentration of voters in a small area”.

In a statement, the ZEC said allegations of vote rigging were “pure malice bent on diminishing the public’s confidence in the voters’ roll and the country’s electoral processes”.

According to it, by the close of voter registration in July, there were 6 619 690 registered voters and 12 370 polling stations countrywide.

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