The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said that all those interested in getting a copy of the voters’ roll which contains photographs should approach the electoral body with their own external computer hard drives. This comes barely 24 hours after Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba announced that the electoral body was not going to provide copies of the voters’ roll with photographs out of privacy and security concerns.
Chigumba on Monday claimed that Zec’s lawyers had advised them that it was against the Constitution to release the voters’ roll which had photographs on it. However, the voters’ roll with photographs will be in PDF meaning that it is not ” analysable and searchable.”
We publish Zec’s latest statement below:
PRESS STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO MEDIA REPORTS ON VOTERS ROLL
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission wishes to respond to media reports that the voters’ roll issued to stakeholders is fake. The Commission is saddened by such allegations which in its opinion are meant to cause alarm and despondency among the generality of the Zimbabwean populace. ZEC calls upon all stakeholders to conduct themselves in a responsible manner which is consistent with nation-building.
Section 20 (2) of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13] provides that a voters roll shall specify in relation to each registered voter, the voter’s first and last names, date of birth, national registration number and sex as well as the place where the voter ordinarily resides. The voters roll issued to stakeholders contains the above information as required by the law. The law in section 21 (7) further requires ZEC to issue a voters roll that is searchable and analysable but tamper-proof. ZEC is issuing a roll which can be analysed and searched by age, name, national registration number and residential address in conformity with the law.
Allegations that the voters roll is fake because it does not contain voters photographs are regrettable. While section 9 of the Electoral (Voter Registration) Regulations, 2013 Statutory Instrument 85 of 2017 provides for the Chief Elections Officer to compile a voters roll for each polling area showing in relation to each voter the voters photograph in addition to the information provided in section 20 (2) of the Electoral Act aforementioned, it is pertinent to note that the voters’ roll referred to in section 9 of the Regulations alluded to by the stakeholders in the print media particularly the Newsday of 22 June 2018 relates to a polling station voters roll. This is the roll that will be printed and distributed to each polling station for purposes of polling on 30 July 2018 which will not be in its consolidated form as that issued to stakeholders.
Further, it is also important for stakeholders to note that such roll is printed in PDF format and as such it is not analysable and searchable as envisaged by the law. However, this does not mean that the Commission is under any constraint to provide any person who requests for it in that format a copy. Note, however, that this is not the roll that is envisaged by the law (section 21(7)) to be provided to stakeholders but ZEC is willing to make it available. Those who wish to get a copy of the PDF voters roll containing voters’ photographs are free to approach the Commission with their own external computer hard drives where such roll will be downloaded on.