Tempers Flare At ZEC Meeting Over Voters Roll
11 July 2023
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Tempers flared yesterday during the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) Harare Metropolitan provincial multi-party liaison committee meeting after opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party candidates accused the electoral body of secretly availing the voters roll to Zanu PF candidates.

ZEC almost lost control of the meeting as CCC and Zanu PF candidates traded heated verbal accusations.

The ruling party candidates courted CCC’s ire after rubbishing the opposition’s demand to access the voters roll ahead of the August 23 elections.

During the meeting, CCC candidates claimed that Zanu PF candidates had access to a copy of the electronic voters roll, while their efforts to obtain the document were in vain, which they said was in violation of the Electoral Act.

Skirmishes also erupted at the meeting after CCC candidates demanded the arrest of some candidates whom they accused of fraudulently registering as the opposition party’s candidates which resulted in the party fielding double candidates in some constituencies.

CCC deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyendenga said unresolved issues were triggering contentions among political stakeholders.

“We were hoping that the issues of the voters roll will be addressed considering our Constitution clearly says that when a candidate is duly nominated, (they are) then entitled to access the voters roll,” Shiriyedenga said.

“It’s important that people have access to the voters roll so that they have a structured campaign considering that we had an inspection that had anomalies recently.”

She said it was important for the candidates to know that all the problems were addressed when they access the voters roll.

“Unfortunately, Zec’s response was that as Harare province, they haven’t received the voters roll from the head office, stating that they will advise us when they receive it,” Shiriyedenga added.

Contacted for comment, ZEC chief elections officer Utoile Silaigwana said the issue of the voters roll was addressed by Zec deputy chairperson Rodney Simukai Kiwa during his address to election observers last week.

The meeting was, however, not open to unaccredited journalists.

“The issue of the voters roll was clearly addressed by the deputy chair when he addressed election observers,” Silaigwana said.

Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa said the ruling party was satisfied with ZEC’s performance as far as the voters roll was concerned.

“Zanu PF is happy with what ZEC is doing. Nhamo yemumwe hairambirwi sadza (One cannot worry over another’s problem).Those who have issues with the voters roll know where to go. We are not the PR [public relations] desk of ZEC. ZEC is a State institution and is open to address every grievance brought to it. So we will not worry over the concerns of another political party,” Mutsvangwa said.

After the multi-party liaison committee meeting, CCC candidates pressured police to arrest some candidates whom it accuses of fraudulently filing papers at the nomination court as CCC candidates, resulting in some skirmishes.

Police had to whisk away Harare South candidate Trouble Hasha and Terrence Khumbula of Hunyani constituency, who were accused of fraudulently submitting their nomination papers as CCC candidates.

CCC has since filed charges against several candidates whom it accuses of fraudulently filing papers at the nomination court.

Shiriyedenga said: “Whenever there are unresolved issues, there is bound to be contention and anger among people. What caused the contention after the meeting is that we have some people who fraudulently and misrepresented CCC and signed nomination papers (purporting to be) members of CCC and for some reasons, they were here in this meeting and this remains an unsolved issue despite that we wrote to ZEC.”

Meanwhile, CCC announced late last night that ZEC had given it the voters roll.

“BREAKING: After months of demanding, litigating, and exerting political pressure, the @CCCZimbabwe has finally obtained a copy of the voters’ roll from @ZECzim,” the party announced on Twitter.