BULAWAYO – Zapu president Dumiso Dabengwa has called for the postponement of the 2018 elections claiming the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) was not yet ready to conduct a credible poll.
Dabengwa told a news conference here yesterday that the opposition must not be rushed into an election that they will lose.
“Zapu’s investigations into the country’s readiness to hold free and fair elections in 2018 have revealed that Zimbabwe is not ready for the 2018 elections because of issues concerning the voters’ roll,” Dabengwa said.
“The primary issue of concern is that Zec has not generated a new voters’ roll since the last elections held in 2013, therefore, the 2013 voters’ roll will be one used for the 2018 (elections),” he said.
In 2013, Zapu dragged Zec to court citing anomalies on the voters’ roll.
Dabengwa said there was no hope for free and fair elections.
He said financial challenges will likely make it impossible for Zec to prepare for the poll.
Zec has said it needs $274 million to successfully conduct the 2018 harmonised elections, according to a presentation by its chairperson Justice Rita Makarau to a parliamentary panel.
“Zec says it needs just under $300 million dollars and since Zec does not have these kinds of funds and have no choice but to use the old voters’ rolls. Zapu strongly feels that this is evidence that the 2018 elections will be manipulated as they were in 2013 and that the results will be fraudulent,” he said.
The Zapu leader cited recent anomalies noted in the Chiwundura by-elections as highlighted by the Election Resource Centre (ERC). The election observer group said almost a thousand people were registered more than once on the electoral roll that was used in last Saturday’s Chiwundura by-election.
ERC executive director Tawanda Chimhini wrote to Makarau bringing to her attention the peculiarities noted in the Chiwundura voters’ roll.
“There are 863 people registered more than once and appear as voters in different polling stations,” Chimhini’s letter said.
“Worst case scenario is that of Kenias Svova ID no 29-017146-A-07 of ZRP Senga Gweru who is registered at three different polling stations which are Senga Primary School B, Matongo Primary School A and Matongo Primary School B.”
ERC said there were 218 voters with ID numbers that have a suffix that does not conform to the National Registration Act.
“There are 132 voters with ID numbers that are invalid. There are 724 records that have exactly the same first name, surname, gender and date of birth but different ID numbers and in most cases different polling stations.
“For example, Rosemary Moyo is recorded in different wards with exactly the same name and date of birth with the only difference in the ID being the suffix as 67 and 03. Additionally, the two different polling stations for Rosemary Moyo are in the urban and rural part of the constituency,” ERC said in its letter.
Dabengwa said Zec should be given the $274 million by government to make sure that due diligence is done to ensure that the voters roll has no duplications, the BVR is fully functional and that the elections are run fairly without human rights violations.
“Dabengwa also called for an independent body to run the elections.
“If you look at the staffing at Zec, it’s people who are in security who take order to those manipulations, so we also recommend that the influence and the participation of the security should also be done away with so that we have proper elections that are run by an independent civilian administration,” he said.
Makarau was unreachable for comment but she told Parliament this week “Zec is confident that Treasury will avail the funding as it has funded all the past by-elections and the acquisition of the BVR kits.
“This is the funding that will enable Zec to procure all election material necessary and to pay all allowances necessary to ensure not only a successful voter registration exercise but a free and fair election in 2018.”