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ZEC given seven-day ultimatum to release voters roll

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By Thandiwe Garusa


POLL based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Election Resource Centre (ERC), has given the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) a seven-day ultimatum to release an electronic copy of the delimitation voters’ roll that will be used in next year’s general elections.

This comes after ZEC allegedly refused to give ERC an electronic copy of the delimitation voters’ roll, offering to provide a hard copy while demanding US$187 238 as cost of providing the electoral register.

ZEC cited provisions of Statutory Instrument 145 of 2022 Electoral (Voter Registration) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (No.1), which imposes US$1 per page of the roll as the unit price.

The elections management body also said they were in the process of enhancing the security of the electronic voters’ roll and did not provide an indication as to when its process will be finalised.

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As a result, ERC engaged Tarisai Mutangi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who then wrote a letter demanding that the electoral body releases a copy of the voters’ roll within seven days.

“Mutangi on 7 November 2022 wrote a letter to ZEC protesting that such a cost is shockingly high and more than the “reasonable costs” of providing the national voters’ roll and is contrary to provisions of section 21 of the Electoral Act.

“Mutangi also argued that the exorbitant cost of the national voters’ roll, had a chilling effect on limiting enjoyment of political rights. On the contrary, Mutangi noted that an electronic copy of the national voters’ roll only costs US$200,” said ZLHR in a statement.

Mutangi also argued that once the delimitation voters roll is available in hard copy, it must also be available as a soft copy to make the electoral processes more transparent and consistent.

Mutangi also said the ERC was willing to have dialogue on the way forward and permanent solutions and would only resort to instituting litigation processes as a last resort.

The ERC also expressed concern over the escalating cost of political participation in Zimbabwe as the process of accessing information held by ZEC should be simple, quick and affordable.