via Zec dumps Mudede voters’ roll – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 28, 2015 By Richard Chidza/Melody Chimhau
IN a move that could go a long way in pacifying restive opposition forces, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) says it is now the sole custodian of the country’s electoral processes and has started compiling its new voters’ roll independent of Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s office.
Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that the commission would now use Mudede’s discredited old voters’ roll as a “guideline only”.
“We are registering for each by-election as it comes. We are using the opportunity presented by a by-election in local authorities or constituencies to then register people, but using the 2013 voters’ roll as a baseline. To us, it is an indication of how many people are supposed to register in a particular constituency,” Justice Makarau said.
“For example, for Marondera Central constituency where we will have a by-election in September, we know that we are expecting around 31 000 voters, that number only acts as a guide for us. To us, the 2013 roll will give us an indication of how many people to expect and we will keep that number in mind as we register.”
The old roll has been criticised for containing names of dead people, under-age children as well as a disproportionately high number of centenarians.
“We are going to use the 2013 roll as a baseline, as just a guide. We know there were 6,4 million voters in 2013, so we will work with that figure in mind. We are, therefore, going to have slightly more or slightly less figures than that, but the existing figure will provide us with an indication,” Justice Makarau said.
“If we are going to come up with, say, a million, then we will know that there is a serious problem either with our figure or with those figures. We are aiming to reach round about that figure or slightly below. The figures could have been inflated for some other reason. Some people who had not registered back then might be interested now, but we need that 2013 figure as a control figure just to give us direction.”
Makarau said her commission was working on creating and maintaining the “best roll ever” and would institute regular checks to remove ineligible people, including those who would had died or moved permanently outside the country.
The opposition in Zimbabwe has pointed to the anomalies on the voters’ roll as an indication of the collusion between Zec and Zanu PF. Mudede, before the new Constitution, was for decades in sole charge of elections in Zimbabwe amid accusations he was biased in favour of the ruling party Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo residents yesterday described Zec as heavily compromised and discredited. The residents made the remarks during a Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Portfolio Committee public hearing on the General Laws Amendment Bill held at a city hotel.
The hearings will run through the week covering Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Harare.
Participants said Zec lost its credibility after it emerged that its operations were funded and controlled by government.