Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s Sibongile Ndlovu has inadvertently admitted that 2013 elections were flawed despite repeated denials by other ZEC officials to the contrary.
Responding to questions at a ZEC stakeholders meeting with members of the civil society in Bulawayo, Commissioner Ndlovu said following the introduction of the Biometric voter registration (BVR) it will be impossible for voters to use counterfeit slips.
“In 2013 we saw slips which we did not know where they came from. Even the registrar general’s office did not know where they came from. This time we do not want those slips,” said Ndlovu.
Speaking at the launch of the 2018 women’s manifesto in Harare last week, another ZEC commissioner, Joyce Kazembe, was jeered at when she told the meeting that elections are not rigged.
“You know we are accused left, right and centre that we rig elections. It is not possible to rig elections. I am telling you the truth,” Kazembe told the stunned gathering.
During the meeting, representatives of various civil society organisations pleaded with ZEC to facilitate a meeting between civil society organisations and traditional leaders concerning the alleged seizure of voter registration slips by the chiefs.
“Please next time, ZEC should invite traditional leaders to such forums so that we ask them why they are confiscating voter registration slips from their subjects. On our own we cannot engage them on this issue,” said one participant.
In response, commissioner Ndlovu said the election management body had engaged traditional leaders several times over the issue.
“ZEC has got a policy of engaging groups of various stakeholders separately. As for the traditional leaders, we have engaged them on the issue of voter registration slips. I personally have been to Binga and approached two chiefs over the issue of voter registration slips. As ZEC, we have also strongly condemned the practice and issued a press statement on the issue,” she said.
Some chiefs have been accused of recording serial numbers of their subjects’ voter registration slips.