MDC-T cries foul over new Zec requirements

THE Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition MDC-T party has cried foul over the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)’s new requirements for prospective voters to provide proof of residence before their names are captured on the new voters’ roll.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Tsvangirai’s party, in a statement yesterday, said the new conditions were likely to disenfranchise and leave out hundreds of thousands of his supporters who are not property owners.

“A democratic, free and fair election entails that all eligible voters, without exception, are not deliberately and/or unnecessarily disenfranchised through a cumbersome and difficult process of registering as voters,” the MDC-T said.

“As such, Zec should immediately recall the draft statutory instrument that will make it mandatory for all prospective voters to produce proof of residence. It is a fact that the majority of urban dwellers are lodgers and tenants who will not easily have access to proof of residence such as utility bills.”

This came as the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) called on Zec to reinstate special voting ahead of the watershed 2018 general elections to avoid disenfranchising thousands of police officers, soldiers and health professionals who would be stationed outside their wards on the polling dates.

Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau last Friday was quoted as suggesting that police officers and staff from the commission deployed on elections day outside their polling station would not be able to vote owing to changes in the electoral laws.

Makarau, however, said special voting presented her team with a nightmare in logistical challenges and that it was good it was scrapped.

Zesn said this would disenfranchise voters in violation of the Constitution and should, therefore, be annulled.

“Zesn has continually called for the reinstatement of the special vote in order to ensure that no eligible voters are disenfranchised from exercising their right to vote as provided for in Section 67 subsection (3)(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Zesn submitted.