ZEC to increase transparency on voters’ roll

The Sunday Mail

Norman Muchemwa

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) will pilot test the display of voters’ rolls outside polling stations during forthcoming by-elections in a move that will increase transparency and reduce the number of voters turned away.

The pilot test will run in the Lupane East National Assembly, Nkayi Rural District Council Ward 23 and Bubi Rural District Council Ward 22 by-elections, which are set for August 3.

ZEC is mandated by Section 239(c) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe to register voters and maintain the voters’ roll and this latest move is in line with Sadc guidelines in the conduct of democratic elections.

ZEC chief elections officer, Mr Utoile Silaigwana, said: “In an attempt to help voters, ZEC intends to pilot-test the display of the voters’ roll outside polling stations during the forthcoming Lupane East National Assembly by-election as well as the Nkayi and Bubi council by-elections.”

He said the Commission intends to use the system in all the elections going forward.

“Yes, ZEC intends to use the same system for all future elections. It is part of best electoral management practice already implemented in some countries including those in Sadc.”

The system, said Mr Silaigwana, will help improve voter participation.

“The display provides voters with pre-poll inspection facility and assures that one is on the voters’ roll thereby increasing electoral participation.”

He added, “It also helps reduce the number of voters turned away since a self-inspection is easily made prior to one entering the polling station and transparency is increased as all voters at a particular polling station are free to inspect the final voters’ roll.”

Further, Mr Silaigwana said, the system will also help to dispel allegations of ghost voters.

In its endeavour to increase transparency, ZEC will also engage in other activities that will involve other stakeholders in the conduct of elections.

“Stakeholder engagements and collaborations are the other measures in place for sharing vital information on the electoral process and allowing stakeholders to participate in some of the electoral activities to encourage co-ownership of the entire electoral process thus, increasing transparency.

“The Commission has also consolidated observations by stakeholders arising from the 2018 harmonised elections and has come up with proposals for inclusion in the law reform agenda,” said Mr Silaigwana.

The issue of voter’s roll has been contentious in the previous elections and the new system will help to dispel any allegations.