The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is cleaning up its voters roll and will be conducting the by-elections in Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe next month using its newly compiled voters roll.
ZEC chair Justice Rita Makarau said yesterday that her commission had now taken its full responsibility to run elections as mandated by the new constitution.
“This exclusive control is given to us by the law and we are just following the law. We have done the voter registration exercise ourselves, we are analysing the data. We will come up with our own voters roll in whatever state it will be for these two by-elections and let all of you be the judges of whether we are doing a better job or not,” she told the Parliamentary Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.
“We have started off with a pilot project for these two constituencies and the by-elections. It is our hope that once we have gotten it right in the two constituencies, then we roll out a nationwide programme to register voters throughout the country. Currently, we are not registering voters throughout the country. The results will guide us.”
All the major opposition political parties boycotted the by-elections but nine candidates from the smaller parties are contesting the polls.
The voters roll has been one of the major contentions in Zimbabwe’s elections with reports that there are thousands of dead voters on the roll. These voters, it is alleged, can be used to rig the elections.
There were also complaints that the voters roll was not readily available to the public for inspection but Makarau said the roll that her commission is compiling will be readily available to the public.
“The one that we are compiling will be readily available to the public. We will make it available in whatever form the law demands that it be available. We will give out electronic copies of that voters roll to the public; we will give you hard copies if you ask for it and you pay the fee for it. Whatever the law says we should do, we will definitely do that on the voters roll that we are compiling.”