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Last minute mass disqualifications feared as ZEC clings on to voters’ roll

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WITH only a day left before the sitting of the nomination Court on Thursday, political parties are worried that their aspiring candidates might be disqualified because of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s reluctance to avail the voters roll to the stakeholders.

The parties argue that the electoral body should give them the register so that candidates can verify the voting status of their nominators.

According to the electoral requirements, each aspiring candidate should have at least five nominators supporting their submission and these should be registered voters.

“We are worried that ZEC’s delay in availing the voters roll might lead to some of our candidates being disqualified at the nomination court. How can we verify that our nominators are registered voters when ZEC is insisting that it will only avail the roll after the sitting of the nomination court? To us, this does not make any sense at all,” said Zapu spokesperson, Ipithule Maphosa, in an interview.

Maphosa said the practice to avail the voters roll after the sitting of the nomination court is against the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

Tabitha Khumalo, the spokesperson of the Nelson Chamisa led MDC- T, also chipped in saying ZEC’s decision not to avail the voters roll before the sitting of the nomination court will likely cost some aspiring candidates.

“Some of the nominators might have registered to vote but not had the opportunity to inspect the voters’ roll. Political parties should have been furnished with a copy of the voters roll so that they can rectify the issue of unregistered and wrongly registered voters in time. During the Nomination Court sitting it will be very difficult to correct any anomalies,” said Khumalo.

ZEC’s Bulawayo District elections officer, Sithembiso Khupe said the voters roll will only be submitted to successful candidates after the nomination court.

Aspiring candidates started lodging their papers on Monday last week after ZEC opened the process, with the commission encouraging them to submit their papers in time to avoid disappointments on the day.

Last week, the electoral body also held a stakeholders engagement meeting with political parties and aspiring candidates in the city to discuss the Nomination Court requirements.

Candidates aspiring to be presidents are required to pay $1 000 when they lodge their nomination papers while aspiring National Assembly members will part with $50.

Local authorities aspiring candidates do not pay anything while the six Senatorial candidates for each party pay a combined $100 per province.