19 September 2017

Zimbabwe: 2018 Poll Voter Registration

The High Court has postponed a hearing into an application filed by the opposition MDC-T party challenging President Robert Mugabe's proclamation of voter registration dates.

The opposition party wants the programme, which started Monday, suspended, arguing that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is not prepared to carry out the exercise.

On Monday, Justice Davison Foroma deferred the hearing to Thursday this week after Mugabe's lawyers claimed that they were not advised of the challenge and needed time to respond to the submissions by MDC-T.

The opposition party filed the application last Wednesday seeking an order to set aside a proclamation issued by Mugabe on September 8, 2017 ordering a new registration of voters and fixing dates for the commencement and conclusion the exercise in all constituencies around the country.

Represented by lawyers Rudo Magundani and Evans Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness, MDC-T argued that Mugabe's proclamation was premature.

Mugabe's proclamation indicated that the registration would start on the 14th of September and end on January 15, 2018.

However, Magundani and Moyo argued that notwithstanding President Mugabe's proclamation, ZEC is not prepared for the beginning of new registration of voters as the elections management body does not have sufficient equipment and trained personnel to commence the programme.

The attorneys argued that there was a risk of disenfranchisement of voters because of the premature proclamation, adding that the period prescribed in President Mugabe's proclamation is also inadequate to complete the voter registration and capture all the biometric voter data.

The MDC-T also protested the lack of clarity on procurement of, and custody of computer servers, involvement of security personnel in the registration programme, as well as inadequate information on the location of polling stations.

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