Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has dismissed claims by the MDC Alliance that it has denied them access to the voters’ roll, saying all political parties have free access to the provisional voters’ roll on its website (updated). In an interview last week, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said claims by the MDC Alliance were baseless as the electronic voters’ roll was available for free.
Justice Chigumba was responding to claims by MDC Alliance member Mr Tendai Biti that ZEC was frustrating the right of Zimbabweans to a free, fair and credible election by failing to furnish them with a voters’ roll.
Mr Biti said the MDC Alliance planned to stage a demonstration tomorrow against ZEC.
“The provisional voters’ roll is available as a link,” said Justice Chigumba. “There is a link that we have made available and anyone requiring it is free to access it and we have made this known to political parties in our regular meetings.”
Justice Chigumba said the Election Resource Centre had taken ZEC to court over the voters’ roll and that made the matter sub judice.
“All I can say is that the provisional voters’ roll is available and any other issue is sub judice because we have been taken to court over the issue of the voters’ roll,” she said.
“The matter is before the courts and we do not want to be seen like we are trying to influence the courts until the court makes a determination. We have always said ZEC is a creature that is guided by the law. I also do wish to say any political party is at liberty to exercise its right to the freedom of association and freedom to stage demonstrations.”
Mr Biti told a Press conference in Harare last week, that political parties wanted to have the voters’ roll to prepare for the nomination process.
“In terms of the law, a candidate can only be nominated by a person whose name is registered and appears on the voters’ roll and yet we as political parties and as candidates do not have a copy of the voters’ roll in respect of which the nomination process hinges,” said Mr Biti.
“So, we are demanding a copy of the voters’ roll, in its analysable and searchable form.
They (ZEC) are obliged to comply with the law. We are demanding an electronic voters’ roll immediately.”
Mr Biti said they also wanted information on the printing of the ballot papers, among other election material.