‘Zanu PF Had Voters Roll With Pictures’
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been accused of issuing a voters’ roll with colour pictures to Zanu PF candidates while denying the same to the opposition in what critics say amounts to vote fraud.
This is the second time in weeks that the electoral management body has been taken to task over the voters roll after it denied ownership of a voters roll which was exposed by data experts as being littered with irregularities.
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko-Sibanda yesterday claimed that Zanu PF’s Victoria Falls local authority candidates in the March 26 by-elections, Musa Ncube and Kudakwashe Mavula Munsaka, were given copies of the voters roll with colour images of the voters.
He repeated the claims when contacted for comment yesterday.
But Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana yesterday denied that the electoral management body had issued a voters roll with colour images to Zanu PF, and stopped short of saying it was leaked by its officials.
He said an internal investigation had been launched.
“We have asked the operational guys to look into the matter since we do not give political parties the voters roll with pictures. We want to understand what really transpired,” he said.
In February, Zec said a defective copy was leaked by its employees who were allegedly later suspended and later summarily dismissed from work.
Zanu PF Matabeleland North chairperson Richard Moyo said he was not aware of the allegations.
“I am not aware of these claims,” he said.
The CCC complained ahead of the polls that Zec had blurred the party symbol and candidates’ images on some ballot papers used in the polls.
The voters roll was a contested document ahead of the polls, with the CCC saying the document was not credible after discrepancies were uncovered.
Zec, however, argued that there were attempts to discredit the electoral management body.
CCC interim deputy secretary for elections Ellen Shiriyedenga yesterday accused Zec of unfair practices.
“We have countless times requested Zec to provide us with a voters roll with images, but it has always denied (us the opportunity to have sight of it). It always cites security reasons and the need to protect private information,” Shiriyedenga told NewsDay.
“Recently, we have had issues of people with the same name and surname, but the only difference being the last two digits on the voters roll. This is one of the reasons a voters roll with images is important.”
Independent election watchdogs said claims that only Zanu PF was given a voters roll with colour images of voters were disturbing, with Election Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu saying this amounted to vote-rigging
“If the allegations are true that one political party got the voters rolls with pictures and the other one did not, then it is an unfair practice. It creates a tilted playing field. When we look at the electoral principles and practices everywhere else, political parties must be given materials that are equal and uniform,” Bobosibunu said.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network chairperson Andrew Makoni added: “The playing field must be even and such discrimination does not go well with the conduct of democratic elections. Zec must treat all political parties participating in an election equally.
“It is important to have pictures in the voters roll so that election officials can see if the person appearing before them intending to vote is the same person. This reduces chances of cheating or people voting on behalf of others.
“The voters roll, which is being inspected by citizens and members of the public before voting, must be the same voters roll to be used on the day of voting. This will allow errors to be attended to.”