Zec owns up to electoral irregularities

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HARARE – Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is yet to remove police officers who voted during the special vote on July 14 and 15.

This emerged after observers asked Zec officials at a press briefing yesterday when names of police officers and Zec officials who participated in the two-day special vote will be deleted.

In response, Zec commissioner, Theophelous Gambe said the commission has since dispatched the voter register to polling stations for those who voted in the chaotic special vote in a bid to avoid double voting come July 31.

“We have already dispatched the register to all polling stations,” he said.

The commission also admitted to duplicating ballot papers.

Zec chairperson Rita Makarau said the ballots had been duplicated by “mistake”.

“Yes we used the same serial numbers we used in the special votes, the serialisation was done by our printers, but we want to assure you that those ballots will not be used in the harmonised election,” Makarau said.

“I want to tell you that our printing was done by two main printers, presidential, Fidelity, National Assembly done by Fidelity while local authority was done by Printflow. During the printing, it emerged that Printflow had challenges in numbering ballots, thus they subcontracted police printers, but only the numbering was done by police printers,” she said.

Zec said they printed 35 percent more ballot papers than needed to cover for mistakes and that “each and every ballot will be accounted for.” A total of 8.7 million ballots were printed against 6.4 million voters.

“35 percent is a large number, but it’s our duty to account for each and every ballot, all 8,7 million ballots will be accounted for, that is what will make for a fair election,” Makarau said.

The commission however, shielded the registrar general Tobaiwa Mudede from answering questions over the unavailability of the voters’ roll.

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Meanwhile, the MDC has alleged that voter registration is still surreptitiously ongoing.

MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti told a news conference at Harvest House that one of the reasons why the Zec was not availing the final voters’ roll was because  voter registration was still underway.

“We have people who are prepared to swear on affidavits to the effect that voter registration is still taking place in some areas,” Biti said.

“We wrote to Zec on Friday and brought to their attention the on-going voter registration exercise at places like Manresa, Harare East and Mash West and so on. We have not received any response from Zec.”

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