4 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Cash Crisis Forces Postponement of Voter Registration Exercise

Photo: Fikile
Zimbabwe Prime Minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai

The unavailability of funds from the treasury has forced the postponement of the mobile voter registration that was meant to have started on Thursday.

Government through the Ministry of Finance had promised the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) $20 million for the exercise.

But ZEC deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe said the delay in disbursing funds from treasury had resulted in the postponement of the exercise.

The Registrar General's office will carry out this exercise but under the supervision of ZEC. Justice and Legal Affairs deputy Minister Obert Gutu told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that in terms of the law, ZEC has a primary duty and constitutional obligation to register or deregister voters.

'So when the Registrar General does register voters on the voters roll, he will be doing so under the direction of ZEC or rather he is supposed to be doing so under the direct supervision of ZEC.

'Whether that is the situation obtaining on the ground I cannot tell because the ideal situation is to have ZEC calling the shots, literally advising and instructing the Registrar General on what to do. I'm not seeing that happening on the ground but I'd like to believe that going forward, we'll see more activity on the part of ZEC and we'll see more cooperation from the office of the Registrar General,' Gutu said

A source in Harare told us that it is not clear when or how the treasury will find the money as it has nothing in its coffers. Our correspondents in Harare and Bulawayo, Simon Muchemwa and Lionel Saungwme, told us there hasn't been any publicity at all about this voter registration exercise.

'You would think nothing is happening because there hasn't been any talk of the registration of voters by ZEC. There has been a stony silence from them but at the same time you hear reports that ZANU PF is busy registering its supporters. Somehow there is no transparency in this exercise,' Muchemwa said.

Saungweme said in Bulawayo the exercise has been surrounded in controversy. He said it has been easy for ZANU PF supporters to register while those from other parties have found it difficult.

'You sense there is a deliberate plot to suppress certain voters from registering. People in Bulawayo have found it extremely difficult to register as voters but at the same time ZANU PF is clandestinely registering its people,' Saungweme said.

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