ZANU PF has exposed its alliance with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) after the ruling party revealed that it would use the voters roll to verify its members’ registration status in the upcoming voters’ roll inspection exercise.
A leaked Zanu PF party internal memo seen by NewsDay shows that the ruling party has ordered its grassroots structures to ensure that every member who appeared in the party cell registers is in the voters roll during the upcoming voters roll inspection exercise.
Zec yesterday announced that voters roll inspection will begin on Saturday and end next Wednesday.
The commission’s deputy chairperson Rodney Simukai Kiwa recently told NewsDay that it would not avail the voters roll to the public until President Emmerson Mnangagwa proclaims the date for the upcoming elections.
But in a letter dated May 19, 2023 copied to Zanu PF vice-president Kembo Mohadi, chairperson Oppah Muchinguri, secretary for administration Obert Mpofu and spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa, national political commissar Mike Bimha directed party provincial chairpersons to ensure that party members who appeared in cell registers, but were not in the voters roll are registered as voters during the voters roll inspection exercise.
During the process, Bimha said Forever Associates Zimbabwe (FAZ) and Heritage Trust constituency co-ordinators would help in the registration verification process.
FAZ and Heritage, linked to Central Intelligence Organisation and Military Intelligence Corps, respectively, ran the party’s recent primary elections.
“The Zec voters roll is polling station-based, making the cell structure the most important organ in mobilising members for inspection for this programme to be a success, cell chairpersons and a team comprising cell main wing political commissar, cell women’s league chairwoman, cell youth league chairperson and a war veteran at each polling station should be responsible and account for each member in the cell registers,” Bimha said in the memo.
“Provincial command centres should assist in ensuring party members whose names do not appear in the Zec voters roll are registered without fail.”
Zec chief election officer Utoile Silaigwana said the electoral management body would not comment on party issues.
He said the voters roll that was being used by political players had been obtained during the March 26, 2022 by-elections.
“I do not comment on what happens within political parties because I am not part of them. On the issue of the voters roll, we have always said everyone who contests in an election has access to the voters roll and they are given it for free at the nomination court. So if that person has access to the voters roll and uses it in whatever way they like, where does Zec get in?” Silaigwana said.
But Bimha told NewsDay that the party would use the voters’ roll to verify the registration of its membership because Zec has the mandate to avail the voters roll during such exercises as the voters roll inspection.
“The directive was in preparation of the upcoming voter inspection process. We will be using the Zec voters roll to verify. There is an inspection, so they will avail the voters roll for us to see which of our members is not registered to vote. Zec is required to ensure that the people have inspected the voters roll. Now that Zec has published the dates for the voters roll inspection, we are going to write to our members to inform them about that so that they start the preparations,” Bimha said.
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change raised concern over the different dates for the voters roll inspection exercise which had been scheduled for May 26 before it later changed to May 27.
“We would appreciate it if you could provide the correct details for the upcoming voter inspection exercise. Your initial advertisement indicated that the process would run from May 26 to 30, but a subsequent advert has different dates,” CCC said.
“As this is an essential exercise for citizens in preparation for the August 2023 elections, kindly share the accurate programme details with the public.”