25 June 2018

Zimbabwe: ZEC Clueless On Ballot Paper Printing

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it does not have an idea on when ballot papers for the July 30 harmonized elections will be printed saying they await a go ahead from the Multi-Party Liaison Committee (MPLC).

ZEC Chairperson, Justice Priscilla Chigumba told the media in Harare today that her commission now awaits the green light from Multiparty Liaison Committee Chairperson, Dr Qubani Moyo to know when the committee will sit again and deliberate on when the ballot paper printing will kickstart.

"After the disruption of the meeting on Friday, it is now up to Commissioner Moyo to find other means to hold another meeting with political parties which will then map the way for the printing of the ballot paper," said Chigumba.

This comes as the opposition front, led by the MDC Alliance have accused ZEC of conniving with the ruling Zanu PF to rig polls through manipulation of ballot printing.

According to Chigumba, the July 30 elections will be contested by 23 presidential and 1652 National Assembly Constituency candidates from the 55 political parties and 247 independent candidates.

The last interface meeting with political parties to iron out the contentious issue around the around voters roll degenerated into chaos after an opposition #1980 Freedom Movement party member Francis Danha disrupted proceedings demanding the resignation of election management body officials.

In accordance with the internationally recognised electoral system, an election management body should ensure that all political parties are engaged in the process leading to the tendering process of ballot printing.

Meanwhile, ZEC has refuted claims that the voter's roll given to stakeholders is fake saying such allegations are deliberately meant to cause alarm and despondency among Zimbabweans.

"The Commission is disturbed by malicious allegations that the voters' roll issued to stakeholders is fake. ZEC is of the view that such allegations are deliberately meant to cause alarm and despondency among the generality of the Zimbabwean populace.

"The public is being advised that the voters' roll being distributed by the Commission is authentic," Chigumba said.

She poured cold water on calls by the MDC Alliance to avail copies of voters' roll with pictures of voters saying it puts the security of the voters at risk.

"Following threats by some unscrupulous individuals to track down their victims' door to door, the Commission will not issue the voters' roll with photographs in an effort to protect voters.

"However, the Commission will print voters' rolls with photographs for every polling station. Section 20(5) of the Electoral Act states that in the event of any discrepancy between an electronic copy and a printed copy of a voters' roll, the latter shall be deemed to be the authentic record of the voters' roll," said Chigumba.

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