Rise In Voter Apathy As Public Loses Trust In ZEC – ERC  

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) reluctance to share the voter`s roll with stakeholders has eroded the public’s trust and their voting enthusiasm, an electoral watchdog has said.

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) said basing on latest voter registration results, some fault lines on ZEC’s processes had been exposed and these contribute to rigging and erode the public’s trust in the country`s electoral systems.

The election watchdog said ZEC lacked transparency on voter registration and was reluctant to share the biometric voter’s roll copy with key stakeholders, including voters.

ZEC was accused of creating a monopolistic culture in the administration of elections in the country.

ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini said his organisation has identified gaps and lack of transparency in voter registration and inspection processes.

“The status quo has remained reluctant to share the voter’s roll with citizens and other key stakeholders, including political parties and voters,” said Chimhini while addressing stakeholders during an online discussion meeting.

He said although citizens were allowed to register and inspect the voter’s roll, ZEC was not willing to share the final copy with everyone.

“They are not willing to share the copy and this has weakened citizens’ trust and voter enthusiasm in the country.”

He said ZEC continued to ignore international best practice on elections administration.

“The status quo is far short of being democratic and this has eroded public confidence and trust. Inaccessibility of registration centres, partisanship, lack of continuous voter education and registration have all contributed to voter apathy and negative perceptions of elections in Zimbabwe,” said Chimhini.

Speaking at the same forum, political analyst, David Mutambirwa criticised ZEC for failing to satisfactorily deal with public perception the electoral body is compromised and managed by ruling Zanu PF sympathisers.

“ZEC has exhibited traits of supporting ruling party Zanu PF and in that context, is failing to meet public demands,” he said.

“The institution is staffed with retired security officers who support Zanu PF and you can conclude that the regulatory body is captured. They are given instructions on what to do.”

Public policy expert and Africa University Ph.D. student, Edmond Samutereko, said the partisan appointment of ZEC officials, political bias, and corruption were reasons why ZEC could not meet its mandatory roles.

“You cannot disappoint a person who appoints and offers you a job and this has been a culture. This has been the trend since the time of Robert Mugabe,” Samutereko said.

“Our situation is peculiar and quite unique. Almost all our State institutions are highly-compromised and polarised, falling short of executing their tasks according to the Constitution.

“So those who pay the piper dictate the tune and cannot allow ZEC to share the voter’s roll, which we all know has ghost voters. It exposes them,” he said.