The ruling party, ZanuPF says it can easily afford the US$187 000 price set by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for parties to access a hard copy of the voters’ roll.
This comes as ZEC says they are yet to finalize and avail the online version which, at US$200 is cheaper and easy to analyze. Last week, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) alleged that they were told to pay US$187 000 for them to access the voters’ roll, a move which alarmed opposition parties who said it was too high.
However, ZanuPF Director for Information Tafadzwa Mugwadi said his party will not find it difficult to pay as nothing is beyond the ruling party.
“Of course, I am not in the finance department or party finance secretary, but you should know that there is nothing in Zimbabwe that is beyond Zanu PF’s capacity and there is nothing that is within Zanu PF’s means which we cannot do,” Mugwadi told Newsday, a local daily.
According to Statutory Instrument 143 of 2022, a hard copy of the voters’ roll shall be US$1 per page of the national voter’s roll.
ERC director Babra Bhebe is of the view that the voters’ roll needs to be easily accessible to stakeholders and political parties for transparency and check for errors.
“The purpose of stakeholders accessing the voters’ roll is that they can do an analysis of the voters’ roll and if there are any anomalies within the voters’ roll, we then share with the commission for the purposes of improving the quality of the voters’ roll. Something must be done to reduce the cost of accessing the voters’ roll,” Bhebe said.
Political party leaders have voiced out their concerns over the latest figures by ZEC alleging that it makes it difficult for them to partake in the electoral processes.
National Constitutional Assembly leader Professor Lovemore Madhuku lashed out at ZEC saying ZEC is not interested in running a fair election.
“This is ridiculous and completely unacceptable. Zec does not seem to be interested in running a fair election. They want to make sure they tighten every screw as they did with nomination fees. This should be changed as soon as possible,” Madhuku said.
ZAPU’s Elections Secretary, Kevin Mapanda said the refusal by ZEC to give access to the online voters’ roll is nonsense.
“We already know that there is a fee that is needed for councillors, for a member of parliament and for the president to participate in the elections. So I don’t think any political party in its rightful sense will do anything about that,” he said.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Deputy Secretary for Elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga castigated ZEC saying by refusing to give access to the voters’ roll, the commission is making it difficult for the delimitation process to move forward as political parties are in the dark.
“Our people are getting in delimitation meetings without those statistics. There is that concern about the voters’ roll’s inaccessibility and there is no transparency when it comes to the voters’ roll. They only told us they can give us the printed version which we cannot analyse. It is very costly to even access the printed version as they charge US$1 per page,” she said.