Tendai Mugabe Herald Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has moved a gear up towards plugging electoral flaws such as double voting by embarking on a national mapping exercise that is ending on November 30.ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau yesterday confirmed that the process was already underway.
“Yes, the process is underway and it is ending on November 30,” she said.
“The process is about giving people specific polling stations. It is polling station specific voter registration.”
The exercise is part of the reforms that ZEC wants to introduce as the country prepares for the 2018 elections.
With the new system, voters cast their ballots at a specific polling station where their name appears on the roll.
This is a departure from the current system where voters are free to cast their votes at any polling station within their wards.
Early this month, ZEC shot down a proposal by political parties that were pushing to be involvement in the mapping exercise.
At a meeting at ZEC offices, Justice Makaru told the political parties they had no constitutional mandate to be involved in the mapping exercise.
“They have been demanding but as ZEC, we are quite clear that operations are our main domain,” she said.
“We execute our operations independent of any political party or any other State agency. Yes, they may come and look over our shoulders as we are working in some particular areas but when it comes to making decisions and designing programmes, ZEC is going to do so independently without interference from anyone.”
She added: “When we engage you (political parties), it is out of goodwill, otherwise where we have a constitutional mandate, we will simply say take it or leave it. You do not have the mandate to demarcate and the moment you do that, we lose our independence and we will be breaching the law.”
Justice Makarau said ZEC would continue engaging the political parties together with faith-based organisations and the civic society for them to have an appreciation of the work being done by the electoral body.
“From the engagement we have had with them, you can see that most of them do not understand what this (mapping exercise) entails and we doubt they will be able to pass on the correct information to their members,” she said.
“We will keep on engaging them so that they are familiar with some of the programmes we have, the projects we are unveiling and terminology we use.”