THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has conceded failing to discharge one of its core functions of registering voters on a continuous basis, as stipulated by the law, due to lack of resources, NewsDay has learnt.
Source: Zec fails to register voters – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The breach was divulged in a letter from Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau responding to a complaint filed by eligible applicants, who had been denied the right to be registered as voters.
Dzoro and Partners Legal Practitioners had written to Zec on behalf of individual voters who intended to register.
“It is ever correct that the commission is not registering voters in the wards and constituencies where there are no by-elections pending due to financial constraints. As soon as finances permit, we shall register all eligible voters on a continuous basis, countrywide,” Makarau said in a letter dated August 17, 2016.
The opposition has always been complaining about Zec’s alleged partiality in the running of elections in the country particularly registering of new voters especially in urban areas ahead of polls. Many youths in urban areas were disenfranchised in the 2013 polls due to the onerous requirements demanded from residents in towns.
Makarau insisted the development was unfortunate and primarily caused by lack of funds.
“Treasury, and understandably so, has of late not been in a position to release to us any operational budget to enable us to carry out our constitutional mandate to register voters. We hope the situation will improve in the near future and trust that once the voter registration exercise commences, your clients would have the opportunity to present themselves for registration,” Makarau added.
Last month, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe leader Elton Mangoma complained after the Mazowe North by-election that Zec had a supplementary voters’ roll that was bigger than the substantive roll.
“We had two rolls during the election. The new roll had 15 000 names, while the 2013 roll with 35 000 names was used as a supplementary roll,” Mangoma said.
The voters’ roll has been a contentious issue in Zimbabwean elections since 1995 when Margaret Dongo challenged a poll result on the basis of a defective voters’ roll in the Sunningdale constituency and won.