Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has issued a press statement responding to the elections demands by the MDC Alliance. Here are the responses:
Demand for the voters’ roll
The demand by the Alliance for an electronic copy of the provisional voters’ roll is premature….
It is only rational in the circumstances, for the Commission to be allowed to complete its process and produce a new voters’ roll which stakeholders would have every right to raise questions and objections on. The Commission is at the tail end of the process of cleaning and updating the roll following the inspection period which was conducted from the 19th to the 29th of May 2018 and urges all stakeholders to be patient.
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Disbanding of the Accreditation Committee
Some of the members of the Alliance would be better placed to know that this is a statutory Committee since they are in Parliament and are therefore vested with knowledge on how such legal entities are to be handled.
Surely, it is imprudent for the Alliance to raise this issue at this juncture when some of its members were in fact involved in the recent debates in Parliament to amend the Electoral Act. If it was the desire of the Alliance to have the Committee disbanded, the issue should have been settled in Parliament when it was presented.
So in short, this is not a matter for the Commission but the Legislature.
Access to BVR Servers
The Commission has reiterated time and again that the custody and location of the BVR servers is a security issue. The issue of access to the server is controlled.
Demilitarisation of the rural areas
This not an issue for the Commission and it has no knowledge of such.
International Observers and Monitors
There is no provision for election monitoring in Zimbabwe in terms of the law. The Zimbabwean law refers to election observation.
The commission opened up its accreditation process to observers during the BVR exercise prior to the issuance of the proclamation. This was followed up by an invitation for applications for accreditation to observe the 2018 Harmonised Elections which appeared in the print media of the 2nd of June 2018.
Currently, the Commission has two active accreditation centres one in Harare and the other in Bulawayo. Plans to decentralise the accreditation centres are at an advanced stage and this has been earmarked for the 10th of June 2018. The Commission has been furnished with a list of 46 foreign organisations invited by the government to observe the forthcoming elections and it has already approved same. What is left is for the individual organisations to complete the necessary immigration formalities for their members for which ZEC is not responsible for in order for their members to be accredited. ZEC does not envisage any problem in the accreditation of observers.
Independent external audit of the voters’ roll.
The major challenge for the Commission is that the request by stakeholders on this subject lacks legal basis and deprives such audit of legal status. In other jurisdictions, this subject is regulated by the law and therefore such questions do not arise. In the absence of a governing and guiding legal framework, chances are high that a perfect legal process may be stalled by disagreements over a non-legal process.
However,. all stakeholders are at liberty, at their own expense to subject the Commission’s voters’ roll to an independent audit once it becomes available and favour us with their recommendations. The Alliance is free to undertake an independent external audit on its own or in collaboration with other stakeholders and the Commission can still benefit from the findings.