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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Special vote court case postponed as ZEC u-turns on voters’ roll
    Nomalanga Moyo, SW Radio Africa
    July 17, 2013

    View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

    Constitutional Court Judge George Chiweshe postponed to Thursday a hearing in which the MDC-T wanted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to furnish it with the voters’ roll used in the just-ended special vote.

    Last week, the MDC-T and its deputy chairperson of elections Morgan Komichi, filed an application at the ConCourt challenging the holding of the special vote, citing disparities in the number of police officers that applied to take part.

    The party wanted the exercise to be delayed to July 20th while ZEC “properly verified and authenticated the findings on the 69,222 applications”.

    It also wanted ZEC to provide the party with a voters’ roll for the special ballot, which ZEC admitted it could not supply. However, the Commission agreed to make available a list with all the names and addresses of the applicants.

    Harrison Nkomo, the lawyer for the MDC-T, said: “When we met today (Wednesday), the Attorney-General indicated that it did not have the details of the number of officers employed by the police.

    “This was surprising because the last time we met, there had been an agreement that ZEC would provide that and today there would have been a consent order indicating a common position between the two parties.

    “ZEC had agreed that it would make available the details of all those who would have voted by special ballot, including the polling stations at which they would have voted. But now ZEC is opposing that application,” said Nkomo.

    Nkomo added that both sides are now expected to argue their cases in chambers Thursday: “I am not sure about the politics behind ZEC’s position but it was disheartening to see that, because their initial position was proper and professional under the circumstances.

    The MDC-T application came amid widespread concerns about possible ballot stuffing after it emerged that only 44,133 police officers are on the payroll, compared to the 69,000 who allegedly applied to vote on 14th-15th July.

    The party also asked the court to direct ZEC to ensure that only legitimate police officers minus retirees, special constabulary or those allegedly recruited to bump up the numbers, such as spouses will be allowed to vote.

    Following the court application, ZEC officials said they had no means of verifying the figures submitted by the police. In addition, ZEC was forced to extend polling by another day, a move slammed as unconstitutional by the MDC-T.

    The three-day exercise was marred by chaos and delays, with reports that ballot papers were delivered very late at some stations.

    This has compounded fears that the ZEC’s supposed weaknesses are nothing but a strategy used by Zanu-PF to build a critical chunk of ‘safe’ votes before July 31st.

    Overall, 87,000 people were expected to cast their ballots under the special vote but an MDC-T official stationed at the ZEC command centre told SW Radio Africa that so far figures indicate that about 35,000 people voted.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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