New Zimbabwe.com

Voters’ roll: ZEC in breach of Electoral Act

WE now have one day to go until the election. I have just this morning, July 29, 2013, spoken to our Elections Director in Harare and she advises that despite repeated requests we still have not received the voters roll in any format. I repeat that the ZEC is obliged to supply us with the roll. I attach the relevant section of the Electoral Act:
“21 Inspection of voters rolls and provision of copies
(1) Every voters roll shall be a public document and open to inspection by the public, free of charge, during ordinary office hours at the office of the Commission or the constituency registrar where it
is kept.
(2) A person inspecting the voters roll for a constituency may, without removing the voters roll, make any written notes of anything contained therein during office hours.
(3) The Commission shall within a reasonable period of time provide any person who requests it, and who pays the prescribed fee, with a copy of any ward or constituency voters roll, either in printed or in electronic form as the person may request.
(4) Within a reasonable period of time after the calling of an election, the Commission shall provide, on payment of the prescribed fee, to every political party that intends to contest the election, and to any observer who requests it, one copy of every voters roll to be used in the election, either in printed or in electronic form as the party or observer may request.
(5) Fees prescribed for the purposes of subsection (3) or (4) shall not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the voters roll concerned.
(6) Within a reasonable period of the time after nomination day in an election, the Commission shall provide –
(a) free of charge, to every nominated candidate, one copy in electronic form of the constituency voters roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been nominated; and
(b) at the request of any nominated candidate, and on payment of the prescribed fee, one copy in printed form of the constituency voters roll to be used in the election for which the candidate has been
nominated.
(7) Where a voters roll is provided in electronic form in terms of subsection (3), (4) or (6), its format shall be such as allows its contents to be searched and analysed.”Advertisement

The ZEC is in serious breach of section 21(3) in that it has not supplied the MDC, despite our repeated requests in writing and verbally, with a copy of the voters roll within a reasonable period of time.
Furthermore it is breach of section 21(6) in that it has not supplied me as a candidate, and I suspect every other candidate, with a copy of my constituency voters roll within a reasonable period of time. It is obvious that 24 hours prior to the election is not a reasonable period of time.
The provision of a voters roll goes to the very heart of a free and fair election and its non supply undermines the credibility of this election. It also raises very serious questions about what the Registrar Generals office is up to regarding the roll.
This matter is brought to the attention of the AU and SADC Observer teams and we look forward to receiving their comments regarding this very serious breach of the law and the electoral process.
David Coltart is the MDC Secretary for Legal Affairs MDC