Parties meet over Zec regulations

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora

Opposition political parties are meeting this week to consolidate their objections to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) voter registration regulations.

BY OBEY MANAYITI/ blessed mhlanga

Zec recently invited submissions on the proposed regulations.

“We are meeting tomorrow (today) as the standing committee to decide on the way forward,” MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said yesterday.

He said they had already raised objections to the Zec guidelines and they would be meeting other political leaders tomorrow to map the way forward.

Two weeks ago, opposition political leaders met and endorsed the process of disengaging from Zec.

Transform Zimbabwe leader, Jacob Ngarivhume said there were a number of anomalies with the Zec-provided regulations and they would fight to bring the desired reforms.

“Clearly, you can see that there are many missing links and information on the Zec document. Firstly, it is not clear if Zec are referring to [Registrar-General Tobaiwa] Mudede voters’ roll or they are referring to the new BVR [biometric voter registration]. This leaves a lot to be desired for it is not clear which voter’s roll are we working with,” he said.

“Secondly, Zec does not, at all, mention any provisions for the Diaspora vote. They must address this pertinent matter for it is a matter of national concern. They must respond to the call to have millions of Zimbabweans abroad to be able to vote. It is their right and we insist that there must be safeguards in place to stop any possible rigging by the regime.”

He added: “Thirdly, Zec gives no clear guidelines on assisted voters. We know very well that the regime has used assisted voters to rig elections before. Their lack of clarity on the matter shows a heinous intention to rig the elections.”

Among other issues, Ngarivhume said they needed a clear list of acceptable proof of residence documents to avoid confusion for urban and rural voters and clarification on the use of affidavits.

He said they needed specific boundaries for polling stations and areas they covered, whether each polling place would be accessible to citizens with disabilities and comply with the accessibility guidelines for the disabled.

Meanwhile, opposition parties are calling on Zec chairperson, Rita Makarau to step down from one of her posts to avoid conflict of interest.

The renewed calls come as the parties review the proposed Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations 2017 tabled by Zec last week ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Section 17 of the proposed regulations gives the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) powers to designate magistrates to attend to objections by voters or by the chief elections officer.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said Zec, through Makarau, was giving JSC, whose head of secretariat is the Zec chairperson, the prerogative to assign magistrates to deal with disputes against herself. – NewsDay

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