THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has further exposed its inefficiency after it accepted MDC Alliance candidate Gideon Mangena’s nomination papers for Nkulumane constituency in Bulawayo, but disqualified him from voting.
In a letter dated March 2, Zec notified Mangena that he would not vote, but would remain a candidate in the March 26 by-elections.
“Please be advised that our records indicate that you are disqualified to vote in the forthcoming by-election to be held on March 26, 2022 for Nkulumane constituency,” the Zec letter read.
Mangena transferred to Nkulumane constituency on January 17 when the voters’ roll had closed on January 8, meaning that he is not a registered voter in Nkulumane.
“In terms of section 26A of the Electoral Act, the voters’ roll of the National Assembly concerned closed on January 8, 2022, but our records indicate that your transfer was effected on January 17, 2022. This, therefore, means that your transfer was effected after the voters’ roll was closed and renders you ineligible to vote in the election,” Zec said.
Election Resource Centre chairperson Trust Maanda said Mangena could not be a candidate in Nkulumane constituency since he was not a registered voter.
“You can’t be a candidate in a constituency in which you are note registered, but you can be registered where you are not resident. It, therefore, means that his nomination was wrong and improper and, therefore, he can’t be a candidate in that constituency.
“On acceptance of nominations, Zec has to satisfy itself that the person applying to be a candidate must be a registered voter in the particular ward or constituency which he is a registered voter,” Maanda said.
Zec could not immediately give an explanation on the issue, with the commission spokesperson Joyce Kazembe said: “I have not seen that communication and can’t just comment on it, I have to talk to the secretariat and get the full facts. Please call me tomorrow (today) at 9am,” Kazembe said.
Zec has of late been under fire over a shambolic voters’ roll as it battles to regain credibility after a disputed 2018 presidential election.
The country will hold by-elections to fill 28 vacant parliamentary seats and 127 local authority seats on March 26. The seats fell vacant following recalls, deaths and postings to diplomatic positions.
Zec has been accused of illegally moving 170 000 voters from their original constituencies and wards in the voters’ roll to be used for the March 26 by-elections, and understating the number of new registrants in a move which activists say could affect the credibility of the polls.