The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has noted recent concerns and allegations levelled against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on several administrative anomalies on the Voters’ Roll. The allegations have a bearing on the credibility of Zimbabwe’s elections. ZESN is not in a position to validate the allegations as it does not have the voters’ roll that was used in the scientific computer analysis.
Voter registration process is the backbone of any election. Transparency, accuracy, completeness, current or updated and inclusiveness are key aspects to ensure the integrity of a voter registration process and the credibility of a voters’ roll. Thus the accuracy of the voter register is a key element in ensuring that all eligible citizens can enjoy their fundamental right to vote, while acting as a safeguard against attempts to manipulate the process.
ZESN notes with deep concern that the allegations on the voters’ roll anomalies, such as changes made to Polling Stations without consulting stakeholders, gazetting or informing voters whose polling stations among other issues may worsen the lack of trust in the Commission. If these allegations are true, ZEC might have faulted the Electoral Act which guides the administration of electoral processes in Zimbabwe; in particular Sections 22A (2), 33 (4), 35(2) which stipulates that the Commission should consult all interested parties when determining the location of polling stations and the areas that the polling stations serve; all removals from the voters’ roll and the publishing in the Gazette of all alterations to the voter’s roll that are made without the oral or written consent of a voter. Lack of communication to citizens about such changes in voters’ roll can disenfranchise potential voters, create perceptions on possible manipulation or fraud and more so can remove trust and confidence in ensuing electoral processes and election results.
ZESN reiterates its calls for ZEC to consider independent audits of the voters roll by reputable audit companies as a way to build trust and confidence in the voters roll. ZESN further urges the ZEC to avail the voters roll to other key electoral stakeholders who may indicate an interest to also analyse and triangulate the information. More so, ZESN implores ZEC to put in place ways/mechanisms to enhance citizens and multi-stakeholders’ confidence in all electoral processes guided by the Electoral Laws of Zimbabwe as well as regional and instrumental instruments on the conduct of democratic elections.
ZESN will continue with its oversight role to promote transparency in electoral processes including the voter registration process.