By Nkanyiso Ncube
ZIMBABWE Election Support Network (ZESN) has called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to speed up the biometric voter registration exercise to avoid continued use of the controversial 2013 voters roll in future polls.
In its preliminary report for the just ended Chiwundura by-election, the elections watchdog said a lot of strange anomalies were unearthed with regards to the 2013 voters roll currently being used by ZEC in conducting by-elections.
ZESN said there was a need for an investigation into some of the anomalies as a way of building public trust for future polls especially the 2018 general elections.
Below we list some of ZESN’s recommendations to the ZEC as we gear up for topical the 2018 general elections.
#1. ZEC should speed up the biometric voter registration (BVR) process so that it comes up with a clean, comprehensive and new voters’ roll. In view of the impending 2018 harmonised elections, the biometric based voters’ roll will enable ZEC to de-duplicate as this is one of the strongest advantages of the BVR.
#2. In view of the unearthed anomalies of double registrants, ZEC should discard the continued use of the 2013 voters’ roll as it compromises the credibility of elections.
#3. ZESN calls upon ZEC to publicly issue a statement on the reported anomalies with regards to duplicates, and invalid IDs to instil public confidence in the electoral processes, particularly the voter registration.
#4. There is also need for the Registrar General to investigate irregularities relating to the appearance of persons with the same name and surname, date and place of birth but with different identification numbers and photos on their national identification documents as well as the invalid identity numbers and to rectify these issues, as they are the institution in charge of issuing the national identification documents.
#5. Deliberate efforts should be directed towards targeted voter education for the youths in order to increase their participation in electoral processes.
#6. There is need for ZEC to ensure that there are comprehensive voter education programmes that are aimed at increase citizen participation in electoral processes, in particular voter turnout.
#7. ZEC should avail demographic data it collects during polling to stakeholders so that targeted voter education programmes are designed.
#8. ZEC should adopt an open data policy to enhance trust and confidence in electoral processes.
#9. To improve transparency ZEC should produce a single voters’ roll which adheres to principles of voter registration.
Meanwhile, Zanu PF candidate for the Chiwundura Constituency by-election Brown Ndlovu romped to victory garnering 9426 votes out of 10134 total vote cast. Takudzwa Guzete of the National Constitutional Assembly got 445 votes, Brighton Mudzviti of FreeZim Congress had 145 while Webster Zulu of PDZ managed 118 votes.
The Chiwundura National Assembly seat fell vacant following the death of Zanu PF Member of Parliament, Kizito Chivamba on 19 April 2017 after a short illness.