ZEC allays fears of Kenya-gate in Zim •BVR training workshop underway •Makarau stresses adherence to the law
Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it will conduct next year’s elections in accordance with the country’s electoral laws as it has always done to avoid the Kenyan scenario where presidential election results were nullified last week.Speaking during the official opening of the five-day BVR Master trainers and Technicians’ training workshop in Harare yesterday, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the success of the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise hinged on the integrity and professionalism of the commission.
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“You are going to be deployed countrywide to carry out some of the duties of ZEC,” said Justice Makarau, addressing participants drawn from the country’s 10 provinces.
“You must do so strictly in terms of the instructions that you receive here today and the next four days and those instructions are based on the law and you must always follow the law.” Justice Makarau said those following electoral developments on the continent were aware of what happened recently in Kenya.
“The Supreme Court of Kenya has decided to set aside the presidential elections in that country for no reasons other than the elections were not conducted in accordance with the law,” she said. The Kenyan Supreme Court last Friday nullified the presidential election won by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The court nullified the election citing irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results. The first-time ruling ordered a fresh election to be held within 60 days.
Said Justice Makarau: “I therefore cannot overemphasise the need for us to always follow instructions. We give you instruction based on the law because we want to conduct our elections in accordance with the law.” Justice Makarau’s statement puts egg on the face of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai who celebrated the unprecedented ruling in Kenya.
Mr Tsvangirai told a rally organised by an alliance of opposition parties in Bulawayo at the weekend that the scenario in Kenya could happen in the country next year. “If it happened in Kenya it can as well happen in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Tsvangirai.
After the training, the master trainers and technicians are expected to train at least 8 500 kits operators that will be deployed countrywide for the implementation of the BVR.
“I therefore urge you once again to rise to your most professional levels as you carry out this important electoral task that goes a very long way towards making the 2018 elections free, fair and credible,” she said.
Justice Makarau also took the opportunity to clarify on the documents required for one to register as an eligible voter. She said the legal position was clear that all adults Zimbabweans were eligible to register to vote and the law listed the requirements for registration. “These are a metal identity card, plastic identity card, waiting pass upon which the picture of the holder is annexed and a valid passport,” she said.
“Your training will emphasise this point in addition to the points on what documents will constitute proof of residence.” “Our mission is to make it easy and convenient for all adults Zimbabweans to register as voters,” said Justice Makarau.
“We are not training to know how to turn away citizens for want of proper documentation, but we are training to know how to assist all eligible Zimbabweans to register to vote.”
The workshop, which ends on Friday, is aimed at equipping master trainers and the technicians with skills and expert knowledge on BVR exercise.