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A credible voters’ roll critical to a legitimate election
Rights NGO Forum
of the forthcoming
election heavily depends on the integrity of the voters’
roll and the credibility of the regional observer mission. Even
though a host of other factors such as lack of media and security
sector reform had a cumulative effect, the above two factors are
the game changers. Without a credible, transparent and accessible
voters’ roll that is open to challenge, the whole election
exercise amounts to ‘much ado about nothing’ and a cosmetic
exercise in futility. In light of the above, it is therefore shocking
that some political analysts are taking this issue very light and
accusing the MDC of being cry babies because of their complaints
regarding the voters’ roll.
The issue of
the voters’ roll has even become an imperative now in light
of questions arising concerning the impartiality and integrity of
the observer mission. It is inconceivable to see how the observers
will rise above the official statements and views of the institutions
that sent them. In our previous opinion, we concluded that statements
from both SADC and the AU almost amount to a public certification
that conditions in Zimbabwe are conducive for a credible election.
They seem to be paying a lip service the voters’ roll issue
or ignoring it altogether. The integrity of an observer mission
to a large extent depends on the liberty of the observers to critic,
question, and if need be, arrive at different conclusions from others
in their interpretation of the obtaining facts prior, during and
soon after the elections. It would appear, and in our opinion, that,
by neutralizing Obasanjo, David Nyekorach-Matsanga has vicariously
issued a statement for the region that dissenting views will not
be welcome and that observers must speak with a united official
In regard to
the issue of the voters’ roll Senator David Coltart’s
views exhaustively address the areas of concern. His statement dated
25 July reads, “Section 21(4) of the Electoral
Act states; "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."
The MDC has
repeatedly asked the ZEC to provide us with a voters roll. Last
Friday we wrote to the ZEC asking for a copy of the roll. Today
we were advised that we may get a copy of the roll tomorrow but
we are concerned that this will not happen.
period of time after the calling of an election" means just
that. The election was called on the 13th June and 6 weeks have
since elapsed and yet we still do not have a copy of the voters
roll. 6 weeks to supply a voters’ roll is not a reasonable
period of time. Worse than that is the 5 days left before the election
is conducted - that is a grossly unreasonable period of time left
to study and use the voters roll.
are meant to be used by political parties world over to analyse
who is in particular constituencies so that they can be spoken to
and encouraged to vote. That opportunity is now denied to us. Furthermore
in the Zimbabwean context where rigging has abounded in the past
it is critically important that parties be given sufficient time
to analyse and audit the voters roll. That right has now been denied
explanation has been given by the ZEC for their failure to comply
with the law and to that extent its credibility as an organisation
has been severely tarnished by this very serious breach of the law.
We can but hope
that the voters roll in analysable digital electronic format will
be supplied as promised tomorrow”.
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