ZEC Defies High Court Order On Voters Roll
16 June 2022
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THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has failed to release the 2018 provisional voters’ roll to an independent think-tank, the Election Resource Centre (ERC), thereby flouting a High Court order, while betraying its insincerity in availing the voter register for audit.

The ERC has been continually writing to Zec, requesting the voters’ roll, but in vain.

The 2018 High Court order read by The NewsHawks shows that Zec was directed to furnish the ERC with the provisional voters’ roll that it used for the inspection exercise in the period of 19-29 May 2018.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the reasonable period within which the respondent should furnish the applicant with the copy of the Provisional Voters’ Roll as per this order is hereby determined to be no more than five working days following payment of the prescribed fees,” read part of the ruling on the High Court order dated 14 June 2018.

While chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana said in a statement dated 28 May 2022 that the commission “will always make available copies of the voters’ roll upon request in accordance with the Electoral Act”, the ERC says efforts to get a copy have continually hit a brick wall.

“The voters’ roll is also a public document which, in any case, should also be available,” says Solomon Bobosibunu, the ERC programmes manager.

The commission should provide … any person who requests it, and who pays the prescribed fee, with a copy of any voters’ roll, including a consolidated roll, according to section 21 (3) of the Electoral Act.

Bobosibunu says the ERC is currently requesting Zec for a copy of the voters’ roll ahead of the delimitation exercise, a process that is proving to be an uphill task for the organisation.

“Its availability (voters’ roll) confirms transparency. It is important that we obtain the voters’ roll for the purposes of providing oversight on the entire process, which includes its compilation and upkeep,” Bobosibunu said.

He said Zec has been insincere in providing copies of the voters’ roll despite, in clear contravention of the Electoral Act.