Zimbabwe: Only an Earthquake Can Stop Elections, Says Chigumba

Opposition leaders Tendai Biti and Nelson Chamisa, left. President Emmerson Mnangagwa laughs with supporter, right.

The July 30 harmonised elections cannot be stopped for whatever reason, with aggrieved candidates only able to challenge the outcome of the polls. This was said by Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba while addressing her inaugural weekly media briefing yesterday.

She was responding to questions on whether or not parties and candidates can stop the elections based on any anomalies they might pick on the voters' roll.

"The first thing to take note of is once the President has proclaimed the election date, there is nothing short of an earthquake which can stop the election so whether candidates scrutinise the voters' roll, whether they see any anomalies in it, whatever the anomalies are, whatever legal recourse they have will not stop the election. I want that to be very clear that is the law," she said.

"Nothing stops the election; if there are any anomalies in that voters roll . . . candidates can possibly challenge the outcome of the election but whatever legal recourse is at hand cannot stop the election.

"Nothing can stop the election after the proclamation of the election date. What candidates can do for whatever reason and whatever their opinions and views are, is to use anything that they come up with to challenge any outcome of the election."

Justice Chigumba said the candidates will receive their free copies of the voters roll in a few days when the names of those that successfully filed their papers is published.

"I think in the next day or so you will see a list of all successfully nominated candidates, presidential, national assembly, and council appearing in newspapers which is also a legal requirement. What the law then says (is) immediately on gazetting the names of those successfully nominated candidates they must be provided with free copy of that voters roll."

The ZEC chairperson said they were working frantically to print the required copies of all the candidates.

"We are actually frantically running all copies of ward-based voters roll, constituency based voters roll and national voters roll which must be availed to all successful nominated gazetted candidates. As you know the presidential (election) we have 23 candidates and it is our priority because it is a statutory constitutional requirement that those successfully nominated candidates be awarded their copies of the voters roll as prescribed in terms of the law and then members of the public will be allowed to pay for and access the voters roll," Justice Chigumba said.

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