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Use of ‘Shambolic Voters Roll’ in Weekend By-Elections Angers CCC Amid Police Refusal to Sanction Party Rallies

Fadzayi Mahere of the Citizens Coalition for Change
Fadzayi Mahere of the Citizens Coalition for Change

The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa says it is planning to take legal action against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for using a “shambolic voters’ roll” in the forthcoming weekend by-elections.

In a tweet, CCC spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, said. “We have challenged the numerous irregularities in @ZECzim’s shambolic voters’ roll in writing. ZEC has indicated that they will proceed to use the defective voters’ roll which they disowned a few weeks ago. They have NO appetite to address our concerns. Litigation is underway!”

CCC said the current voters’ roll has too many ghost voters that are designed to allegedly rig elections in favor of the ruling Zanu PF.

In a letter to CCC elections director, Ian Makone, the state-controlled entity indicated that it will use the voter’s registers of the House of Assembly that comply with the law.

The letter read in part, “Please be advised that the voters’ rolls to be used on the 26th of March 2022 in respect to the National Assembly by-elections, will be those that closed on the 8th of January 2022 in line with the Presidential Proclamation No. 1 of 2022. With regards to local authority by-elections, the voters rolls vary depending on as and when the vacancy occurred in the respective ward in line with Section 121A(3) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13)”

Mahere said CCC officials visited the ZEC offices on Wednesday to express their dissatisfaction over anomalies in the voters’ roll.

She said CCC secretary general, Chalton Hwende, was not allowed by the police to speak to the press about the voters register soon after holding the meeting with ZEC officials.

Mahere said, “Our election & legal teams today visited ZEC offices to express our dissatisfaction over ZEC's unconstitutional behaviour ahead of the Saturday by-elections as @PoliceZimbabwe blocked champion leader @hwendec from addressing members of the media.”

Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi was unreachable for comment.

Meanwhile, police have blocked CCC from holding its final rally in Epworth today ahead of by-elections set for Saturday. This also comes at a time when a similar police move was overturned by a Harare magistrate.

At the same time, some opposition political parties contesting the March 26 by-elections have reacted angrily to ZEC’s pronouncements that only one polling agent will be allowed in a voting centre on polling day. This has not happened in the history of Zimbabwean elections. Opposition parties claim that such a move creates room for rigging. But Zanu PF says it is not worried and will not interfere in the operations of the electoral body.