Office will soon be removing dead people’s names from the voters’ roll.
This comes at a time when the electoral commission is also planning to strike off the voters’ roll, names of Zimbabweans who have been staying outside the country for the past 12 months.
“It is our mandate to supervise the registration of voters,” said ZEC acting chairperson Mrs Joyce Kazembe.
“The law says we have to assist the RG to remove names of dead people from the voters’ roll or those that have been out of the country for more than 12 months. However, that is based on the willingness of the people to co-operate and remove these people.”
She urged the deceased’s relatives to assist in the exercise.
Mrs Kazembe said the commission would not rush to remove names of people from the voters’ roll without proper verification through affidavits.
She was speaking on the sidelines of a two-day media training on election reporting sponsored by ZEC and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Southern Africa here.
Mrs Kazembe said ZEC would be registering new voters while relatives of the deceased voters help the commission and the Registrar General’s Office to identify them.
Mrs Kazembe said the latest electoral amendments mandated ZEC to deregister Zimbabwean voters who have been out of the country for a minimum of 12 months.
“According to Section 33 of the Electoral Act, those that have been out of Zimbabwe for the past 12 months will be struck off the voters’ roll.
“We are saying during this exercise the relatives of these people (based out of the country for over 12 months) should come up and tell our officers.
“Those that want to transfer or have moved from some new places should come and register in the new locations.”
Mrs Kazembe said there was a need for voter education so that the people in rural areas and those based outside Zimbabwe understand the new changes.
Mrs Kazembe said the outreach programme would cost over US$32 million. She said ZEC and the RG’s office had already requested funding from Government.
The exercise, she said, was expected to start as soon as the money was made available.
Mrs Kazembe said ZEC officials would go in advance educating people on the need to participate in this programme. The programme was supposed to start last year and end in September this year but failed to kick off due to a lack of funding.
Mrs Kazembe said voter education would start anytime soon after donors, among them EISA, provided funding for the exercise.
Mrs Kazembe urged Zimbabweans in the diaspora to constantly check on changes to the country’s electoral laws.
“We have also put our Acts on our website so that the people out there will know of these provisions. The new electoral law is there, the old one is also there.”
She said ZEC had received financial assistance from EISA to print and design materials for voter education.
In her opening remarks earlier on, Mrs Kazembe said the media’s role in democracy building was critical.
“You play the role of enhancing democracy and you should play that role responsibly. You should help build bridges towards democracy, national healing and reconciliation,” she said.
The training attracted journalists from both public and private media organisations nationwide.
The workshop ends today.