The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has so far withheld the official voters roll from most parties — a move that has raised concern over the body’s ability to run credible elections next month. The country’s main opposition has said Zimbabwe should not hold the polls if the commission does not show impartiality. Last week, some Zimbabwe opposition parties were unable to register their candidates for the July 30 presidential election. The parties blamed their plight on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying they did not have the official voters roll from which to find the required 100 signatures of endorsement from registered voters.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
Veritas Zimbabwe, has taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to court and its two cases will be heard tomorrow. In the first case Veritas is seeking to open up voter education which is currently restricted to the commission. It argues that this restriction is inconsistent with the freedom of expression which is guaranteed under the country’s constitution. In the second case Veritas is seeking the court to decide on the definition of transparency because it is not defined in the country’s constitution.
The president and his wife drive slowly across the dusty sports ground, preceded by a pickup full of local reporters, flanked by a crowd of excited teenagers, and followed by a large cloud of dust. Banners are held aloft, flags waved. Zimbabwe’s election campaign has reached Chegutu, a small agricultural town on the high, flat uplands 70 miles west of Harare. The rally is one of the first since the official declaration of the campaign last month. The coming election – on 30 July – is the latest turning point in the most tumultuous few months in almost four decades of Zimbabwe’s political history.
Zimbabwe set its first election of the post-Robert Mugabe era for July 30 in what should be a straight fight between President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ruling party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The election comes after Mugabe, who ruled the southern African nation for almost 40 years, was forced to step down as president in November. It will feature European Union monitors for the first time since he expelled Western observers in 2002 after they alleged his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was guilty of human rights abuses. Zanu-PF denied the charges and accused the Western nations of interfering in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
A visually impaired man has taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the High Court seeking an order to compel the elections body to print and avail ballot papers in Braille or the template ballot as a way of ensuring that visually impaired enjoy their right to a secret vote. Abraham Mateta, who is visually impared and is a registered voter wants ZEC to put in place administrative measures to enable people in his condition to vote by secret ballot in the coming 2018 harmonised election. Mateta also proposed that ZEC must provide tactile voting devices to all the visually impaired people who want to vote secretly arguing that those who wish to be assisted in voting, should select their own assistants and cast the vote without the involvement of a presiding officer or any other third party.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission could in the long-term introduce closed-circuit television cameras inside polling stations to help reduce post-election disputes. Countries like Russia use that technology, and electronic ballot boxes that count votes on casting to engender greater transparency. The cameras are mounted near polling booths and outside election centres. Zec Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba, who observed Russia’s national polls two weeks ago, said the Commission was exploring the possibility of introducing CCTV after this year’s harmonised elections.
The Constitutional Court Wednesday reserved judgment in a case in which three Zimbabweans are challenging provisions of the electoral court which prevent Diapsorans from voting in their countries of residency. The case was heard by the full bench of the Constitutional Court with the applications represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. Applicants are arguing that residency requirements imposed by the Electoral Act contravene the Constitution which provided for political rights allowing every Zimbabwe citizen to participate in political processes, wherever they were.
The African Union will provide financial and technical assistance to Zimbabwe to help ensure credible elections later this year, the chairperson of the African Union Commission told reporters Tuesday in Harare. Briefing reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Zimbabwe, the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he met separately with former President Robert Mugabe and current President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He said he discussed his meeting with Mugabe during a courtesy visit.
The election roadmap is facing a stumbling block due to a court issue over the software required to ensure legitimacy during the voting process. Laxton Group Ltd won the tender to supply the BVR kits that have been used during the voter registration process. Laxton Group argue that ZECs decision to award the de-duplication tender to IPSIDY could compromise the fairness of elections and they feel they are in the best position to provide the de-duplication service since they handled the registration that comes before de-duplication. We don’t know why ZEC decided to award different companies the respective tenders. Laxton supplied the kits that were used for registration. The next important step has been taken away from Laxton and awarded to a different company Ipsidy. Laxton says this may comromise the new voters’ roll.
Recent promises made by Zimbabwe’s new president that free and fair elections will be held in 2018 are viewed with suspicion by people in Matabeleland, a part of the country that has suffered greatly under the ruling regime. From early 1983 to late 1984 government soldiers unleashed in the southwestern region by former president Robert Mugabe killed up to 20,000 Ndebele people, according to rights activists. Suspected of being affiliated with a rival nationalist party called Zapu, the victims were seen as a threat to the ruling Zanu-PF by the former dictator. Mugabe’s successor, the recently sworn-in President Emmerson Mnangagwa (75), was state security minister at the time and allegedly played a central role in co-ordinating attacks on civilians that became known locally as the Gukurahundi massacres. He denies any involvement.