Zec accountable for ballots: Makarau

Herald Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will account for every ballot paper used and not used including the 35 percent extras that were printed as a contingent measure, the electoral body’s chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau has said. She said modalities for Zec to take over the registration and administration of the voters roll from the Registrar General’s office were being worked on.

Justice Makarau said this in an interview with The Sunday Mail on a wide range of issues.
All provinces, she said, had accounted for all the ballot papers they received and that was done successfully at every polling station.

“Every ballot paper was sent to the provinces and all this had been put as election residue which is sealed. If there is anybody who thinks they need to have access to this for good reason, they can approach the courts and if we get such an order from the court, we will unseal the boxes and take out all such information. Each province can account for all the ballots as well as the extra 35 percent,” she said.

The MDC-T has challenged the rational behind printing eight million ballot papers against registered voters compliment of slightly above six million.

Asked how soon would Zec take over registration of voters, Justice Makarau said they were now putting modalities for the assumption of the role.
She said the Constitution stated that the electoral body should take over voter registration soon after elections hence the process should start at the earliest possible time.

“We are now looking at the modalities of how we can take over that function from the Registrar General of Voters. We are also going to look at whether we are going to get the machinery and personnel from Zec.

“These are the debates that the Commission needs to generate on whether we should maintain the system that has been in place or go to the system where you say the moment you get an ID card, immediately you are a voter and you are automatically registered to vote,” said Justice Makarau.
She said it was prudent for the country to engage on that kind of debates, on what kind of voter registration does the country needs.

“As Zec we want to encourage this form of registration. We are examining to see whether it will work and we are going to engage in debates over the matter so that we will not have these problems that have been alleged about the voters roll. It (the option) appears attractive,” she said.

The Zec boss, said they had drawn a number of lessons from the just ended election and possible areas that needed to be improved.
One area she said ought to be improved upon is how to deal with special voters where the electoral body experienced some challenges in executing.

“It needs to be managed well in view of the fact that we are going to be polling station-specific. So the logistics are going to be heavy because you need to train. We have to revisit that and say instead of early voting in a special way can we not send people to the areas where they are registered,” she said.

Justice Makarau dismissed allegations of vote rigging, saying some of the allegation made, like that of bussing people did not make sense because people were voting in areas where they were registered.

“So whether you come in by bus, or by car or on foot is immaterial as long as you are on the voters roll. But if you say people were bussed in and voted without appearing on the register, then this constitutes electoral fraud and whoever assisted such people should answer to the police,” she said.


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