MDC Alliance demands voters roll audit, fresh inspection; says ED jumped gun on poll date

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By Staff Reporter

HARARE: The MDC Alliance has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of jumping the gun when recently announcing dates for this year’s crunch elections and demanded an audit and fresh inspection of the voters’ roll.

Addressing a press conference in Harare Friday, Alliance principal Tendai Biti said it was absurd that the voters’ roll would only be available after the sitting of the nomination court.

“We are not being provided with the (voters’ roll) yet the nomination court sits on the 14th of June and we have to be nominated by persons who are on the voters’ roll,” he said.

“ZEC has indicated that it would only avail the voters’ roll after the nomination court.

“We find that absurd because the roll is a key cog in the nomination process particularly the nomination of the president.”

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader said a fresh inspection and external audit of the voters’ roll must also be carried out before the elections.

“We are demanding an external audit of this voters roll and this going to be very key because in the voter inspection period between the 19th to the 29th of May, two processes were taking place.

“Number one; there was a process fresh voter registration; number two, there was a process of massive transfer of voters from some constituencies. That means that we need another inspection period before we go to the elections.”

External audit

Regarding the audit, Biti said; “it must establish the legitimacy of people that are sitting on that voters’ role.

“We know, for instance, that in places like Mt Darwin we have picked up cases of more than 200 people that all using the same ID card and who are all 109 years old. So, we want to establish the legitimacy of persons that are already on the voters’ roll.

“Secondly, want to establish the credibility of this voters roll vis-a-vis the 2013 voters roll. Our fear is that they have contaminated the 2018 voters roll with the corrupt voters roll that was used to steal the 2013 election which up to now we still do not have a copy of.

“So, we need to ensure that there is a complete vaccination and protection of the 2018 voters roll against the corrupt 2013 roll.”

He added, “Thirdly, we need the external audit to be married with the data in the registrar general’s office.

“The register of birth certificates, the register of IDs must marry with the voters roll to ensure that we do not have phantom voters that have been created.

“It is our considered view that if these issues are not addressed, the prospects of a truly free, fair and credible election in Zimbabwe will a mirage.”

Political will

Asked if there was sufficient time for the audit and fresh inspections to be carried out before the July 30, the former finance minister said; “In terms of the Constitution, an election should be held between the 22nd of July and the 22nd of August; so, we had up to the 22nd of August to hold the election.

“When you consider that the voter inspection process only ended on the 29th of May 2018, and when you consider that there had been fresh registrations during that 10-day period which obviously necessitates another inspection period, I think those who called for an election on the 30th of July 2018 jumped the gun.

“… because it (date) doesn’t allow for a smooth process in respect of which the new voters’ roll emerging from the 19th to the 29th of May can be audited and can be scrutinised by those people who registered.

“ … but let’s work with what we have here; if there is political will, I have absolutely no doubt that the things we are asking for can be done in a weeks’ time. If there is political will, but you and I know that this junta suffers from kwashiorkor of political goodwill.”

He added; “We are not going to boycott an election but there will not be an election which does not meet the basic rudimentary requirements.”