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.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
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.
As Zimbabwe prepares for a general election in 2018, rights activists are criticizing the government’s decision to reintroduce a proof of residence requirement for voter registration, saying it disenfranchises a large number of potential voters – many of them women. After proposals to relax the rules on proof of residence drew criticism from various political parties, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in June reinstated the requirement that all voters must produce a document confirming their permanent address before they can register to vote. But activists say the move disqualifies anyone who doesn’t have a fixed address, doesn’t own property or simply can’t get hold of the necessary documentation.
Zimbabwe’s High Court, ruling in favour of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has ordered the government to allow people to vote in any constituency in a presidential election in March, the Daily News said on Saturday. “High Court Judge Rita Makarau ordered Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general, to allow people to vote anywhere in the country and not necessarily in their constituencies as decreed by the government,” the privately owned newspaper said. Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), poses the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe’s 22 years in power in the March ballot.
The election body, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), has cleared the air on identity documents for voting following recent reports implying that those with metal identity cards would not be allowed to register during the forthcoming biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise ahead of the 2018 make-or-break polls. Zec said that voter registration requirements were enshrined in Section 4 of Statutory Instrument 85 of 2017 (Voter Registration Regulations), which states that “for any Zimbabwean to register as a voter, they can use a national identity document which takes the form of a metal ID, plastic ID or a waiting pass with the holder’s photograph”.
Zimbabwean demonstrators, many who had come from other regions of the UK, gathered at Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. The demonstration was one of the cross-country series of protests for #Take2Zimbabwe lined up by Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZHRO), Restoration Of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) and Zimbabwe Citizens Initiative (ZCI). This was the third of those planned for this year, after those held in London on the 18th and Birmingham on the 22nd of April. The main goals of these demonstrations is to fight for the right to vote, to highlight corruption, and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans working together in groups are getting involved and uniting through working in partnerships, hoping that these non-violent protests will turn into voting rights, recognitions of human rights and ultimately, a real democracy.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has barred the Zimbabwe Political Parties Dialogue Forum (ZPPDF) from partaking in the Biometric Voter Registration kit testing pilot project. ZPPDF is a technical partner of the opposition National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) coalition. The forum had written to ZEC, asking to be allowed to participate in the BVR testing pilot project. Last week ZEC engaged political parties and civil society organisations that deal with elections where the electoral body announced that it was going to test the feasibility of the BVR.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has expressed dismay over the continued use of two voters’ roll in Zimbabwe’s parliamentary elections saying the electoral body should stop this practice. In its detailed report following the Mwenezi parliamentary election won by a Zanu PF candidate at the weekend, ZESN said, “ZESN observers reported that the Commission continued to use two voters’ rolls in the by-election a trend that has been previously observed in previous by-elections. “The main voters’ roll made up of voters captured during the registration process was used together with a supplementary roll based on the ward based voters’ roll used in the 2013 harmonised election. ZESN reiterates its position that use of one voters’ roll in future elections will greatly enhance the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.”
When the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) announced that the country was going to adopt Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system for use in the 2018 harmonised elections most of those that have known the Government of Zimbabwe found this overture to be too good to be true. Coming as it did — a good 30 months ahead of the elections — after minimum lobbying by civic society organisation (CSOs), many became suspicious about this concession that was being readily granted by a government that was intransigently resisting effecting a raft of electoral reforms that opposition parties have been demanding. At the time, some members of these CSOs had told the Financial Gazette that the readiness with which government was willing to let go the “golden” Tobaiwa Mudede-compiled voters’ roll showed that either the ruling party strategists had identified horse and cart loopholes that could be exploited to ZANU-PF’s electoral advantage or it was just a strategy to buy time so that it could plead poverty and shortage of time on the eleventh hour when the only option left would be to revert to the tested old voters’ roll.