Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba has said the proliferation of political parties ahead of harmonised elections is testimony of thriving democracy in the country.
In an interview at ZEC’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair stand last week, Justice Chigumba said 127 political parties had registered to participate in the forthcoming elections.
She said more political parties could mushroom, proving the country’s democratic structures.
“In fact, they are now 127 (political parties) and I’m confident that we will see a few more before we go into elections,” she said.
“It’s not for ZEC to think whether this is right or whether this is productive for Zimbabwe. We as ZEC, as the administrative body, merely administer the law. Our law allows proliferation of political parties. It is the way in which our democracy is structured.”
Justice Chigumba said the mushrooming of political parties had always been synonymous with the period leading to elections.
She said she was confident some political parties that registered with ZEC would not meet the requirements of the Nomination Court.
“What I do want to say though is that traditionally, around every election cycle we see an upsurge of these political parties,’ she said.
“But when we get to the Nomination Court, a lot of them fall by the way side because they will not be able to meet the Nomination Court requirements.
“The fact that we have 127 political parties doesn’t mean we are going to have 127 political parties on the ballot paper. That’s a misconception. Only those political parties, only those candidates who will have fulfilled the requirements of the Nomination Court will appear on the ballot paper and I don’t think they will be more than 10.”
Justice Chigumba said the electoral body was not concerned about individuals and parties who were sounding their intentions to participate in coming elections.
She said only those who will satisfy Nomination Court requirements will be considered.
Justice Chigumba said ZEC was well on course with its elections roadmap and was in the process of procuring election materials.
“The commission is very well prepared as we go into the 2018 harmonised elections,”she said.
“In terms of where we are at the moment we are doing de-duplication of double registrants from the voters’ list which we obtained from the biometric voter registration exercise. We are also in the process of procuring election materials, we are doing training of those who are going to train voter educators and in terms of roadmap what we are looking to do at the moment is to produce the provisional voters” list for the inspection which is the next stage of our process.”
Justice Chigumba said Government had also availed adequate funds enabling ZEC to prepare a provisional voters’ roll, its inspection and voter education.
“We are quite pleased and at the moment I can’t say we are facing a lot of challenges,” she said.
“The de-duplication is an ongoing process that is also in parallel of the provisional voters’ roll.”
On Sunday, ZEC announced that a provisional voters’ roll will be availed for public inspection at polling stations countrywide between May 19 and 29.
The stations will be published in the media and the ZEC website in due course.
The electoral commission urged members of the public to inspect the roll and ensure mistakes made on their registration are corrected, to avoid disappointment on the day they cast their ballots.