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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Crisis Report Issue 191
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    June 11, 2013

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    ZEC to Improve Voter Registration – Chairperson Makarau

    Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has admitted that the initial mobile voter registration which ended on May 19 was “fraught with challenges”, although Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau hastily pledged to improve the exercise addressing a consultative meeting with members of the civil society on Thursday June 6 in Harare.

    ZEC was scheduled to begin a 30-day mobile voter registration on Monday June 10 to satisfy requirements in the new Constitution and has since complied as mobile voter registration is currently underway at various centers.

    The Constitutional Court ruled on May 31 that the next election should be held by July 31 which analysts say makes the preparation for free and fair elections squeezed for time given the need for ZEC and the Registrar of Voters’ office to prepare a credible voters’ roll.

    As agreed by SADC Heads of State and Government on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Golden Jubilee in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, SADC might hold a Summit on Zimbabwe in Mozambican capital Maputo this week.

    Analysts believe the Summit could assess the preparations for elections.

    Justice Rita Makarau, the ZEC chairperson addressed members of the civil society alongside other commissioners and the Registrar of Voters Tobaiwa Mudede.

    “We want this to be a credible election so we have held this meeting because a credible election requires consultation,” said Justice Makarau, admitting on behalf of ZEC that there were flaws in the previous exercise:

    “We realized that exercise was fraught with challenges.

    “We thought we could invite you to share what we have done to deal with those challenges.”

    The ZEC chairperson admitted to flaws that were identified by civil society organisations such as Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Election Resource Centre (ERC) among others.

    Flaws ranged from lack of adequate publicity to inconsistencies with the regulations in the conduct of ZEC teams as well as inaccessibility of the mobile registration points.

    Makarau said to plug some of the gaps they had conducted synchronized training of staff with the Registrar of Voters’ office for the voter educators who have since been deployed in pairs to the 1958 wards across the country.

    The Commission said people living with disabilities had been considered in the recruitment which it said was guided by the Public Service Commission (PSC) in liaison with the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Disabled (NASCOH) the organisation which is also assisting with necessary aids for the sector in the registration.

    Makarau said those without proofs of residence would be required as a “last resort” to sign sworn affidavits that are obtainable at the registration centres before ZEC Commissioners of Oaths.

    ZEC said it was also using schools to distribute information to the rural communities through pupils.

    Makarau encouraged those who have concerns to approach ZEC but when asked whether the Commission would allow civil society to educate voters she could only disclose that applications from the organisations were still under consideration without giving further detail.

    “Voter education and voter inspection will run concurrently.

    “While registration of first time voters is going on all those who have voted before are expected to inspect their names on the roll.

    “Voter inspection is free,” Makarau said.

    Mudede said efforts were underway to deal with the issue of aliens who are eligible to vote as dictated by the new Constitution.

    He indicated that there was no open door policy for all aliens except those who match the relaxed requirements, particularly clarifying on aliens of SADC origin.

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