via We messed up in Hurungwe: Zec – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 22, 2015
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has tacitly admitted that it messed up the Hurungwe West by-elections by accepting Zanu PF winning candidate Keith Guzah’s nomination papers without verifying whether or not he was registered in that constituency and that his name was on the final voters’ roll.
BY NUNURAI JENA
In an e-mailed response to NewsDay, Zec admitted that it accepted Guzah’s nomination papers “on the presumption that all voters registered during the pilot voter registration phase for the affected constituencies would be entered in the final voters’ roll”.
“Voter registration slips were acceptable for nomination purposes based on the presumption that all voters registered during the pilot voter registration phase for the affected constituencies would be entered in the final voters’ roll. Keith Guzah’s nomination papers were thus accepted on the basis of a voter registration slip which he produced to the nomination officer,” Zec said.
Guzah’s case has caused a storm after it emerged that his name was not on the voters’ roll for Hurungwe West constituency, but it appeared on the Magunje one.
Zanu PF has distanced itself from the boob and blamed the Zec secretariat for sleeping on duty.
Independent candidate Temba Mliswa, who contested the by-election on June 10 and lost to Guzah, has threatened to file for nullification of the results, citing breach of the Electoral Act.
Under the Act, candidates ought to be registered in the seats they are contesting and their names have to appear on the constituency voters’ roll.
But Zec further complicated issues when they refused the same people with slips to vote in all 16 by-elections “to guard against counterfeit and fraudulent slips”.
“Generally, a person can vote using a voter’s slip in terms of Section 56 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13). However, in the just-ended June 10 2015 by-elections, the commission took a cautionary approach to guard against counterfeit or fraudulent slips and restricted voting only to persons whose names were appearing on the voters’ roll,” the electoral body said.
Opposition MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “All facts in this matter point to a situation which confirms that Keith Guzah was not validly and lawfully nominated. To make Guzah’s case more complicated and untenable is the fact that his name did not appear in the voters’ roll for Hurungwe West constituency, both on the nomination day and even on the poling day.
“In terms of the Electoral Act, Guzah was not supposed to appear as a candidate on the ballot paper for the June 10 by-election.
Therefore, his purported election as MP for Hurungwe West is null and void right from the outset. In fact, by purporting to run an election as MP in a constituency for which he was not a registered voter, Guzah committed a criminal offence by violating the provisions of the Electoral Act and he should be prosecuted.”
Guzah, who has since been sworn in as MP, yesterday confirmed that he did not vote because of the stringent requirements.
“There are so many registered voters in the constituency and most of them did not vote. One doesn’t need to vote to win an election,” Guzah said.