Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Priscillah Chigumba says the right to participate in Zimbabwe’s elections is voluntary so anyone has a right to decide not to exercise their right to vote.
She said this in answer to a question from the Herald which wanted to know what demands had been made by the MDC Alliance and what the commission’s response was to those concerns.
“MDC Alliance, one of the contestants in these elections, has just reiterated that it will not participate in the coming elections if certain demands are not met. Can you highlight what demands have been made to you, at least formally, and what your response to the same is?” she was asked.
“The first thing I would like to say is that our electoral laws are persuasive, they are not mandatory. For instance, let`s take registration to vote; we don’t have laws that compel Zimbabwean citizens to vote,” she responded.
“In certain jurisdictions, if you do not register to vote within six months of turning 18, certain things will happen to you. We do not have laws that compel citizens to participate in the electoral processes.
“Similarly, if you register to vote and you decide not to vote on election day, we do not have laws that follow you to your house to come and say, you are on the final voters’ roll why didn’t you exercise your right to vote?”
Chigumba continued to dodge the question saying: “The right to vote and the right to participate in electoral processes in Zimbabwe is voluntary. If I decide as the chairperson of ZEC to say I am not going to exercise my right to vote I am allowed to make that decision and the law does not come to look for me to ask why I did not exercise my right.
“It is actually my right to decide not to exercise my right to vote. I think I have answered your question without commenting directly on what other people may or may not have said. One is at liberty to exercise one`s right by deciding not to participate.”
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