Home » Governance » Dabengwa Wants New Voter’s Roll

Zapu leader Dr Dumiso Dabengwa says the law requires the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to create its own voters’ roll and register people for the by-election in Mt Darwin West and Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituencies for the March 27 by-election to be credible. In an answering affidavit filed at the Electoral Court, Dr Dabengwa wants ZEC to quickly take over the electoral duties from the Registrar-General’s Office in line with the new Constitution.

The politician argues that inheriting the voters’ roll and registers compiled by the RG’s Office was a breach of the supreme law of the country.

“How is the Commission (ZEC) then able to perform its constitutional responsibility when it has neither registered voters as required nor compiled the voters’ rolls and registers?

“The commission cannot take over any register of voters or voters’ rolls and registers. There is no provision to this effect in the Constitution.

“It must create new databases. There is no reason for the Commission to surmise that it is required to take over the previous database,” he said.

Dr Dabengwa’s answering affidavit was filed two weeks after President Mugabe issued proclamation 1 of 2015 in Statutory Instrument 3 of 2015, which called for a by-election in the two Constituencies to replace Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and former VP Joice Mujuru.

January 29 was fixed as the date for the nomination court, while the actual by-election was set for March 27.

In an opposing affidavit filed end of last year, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau, said the commission cannot take over the responsibility of voter registration, and maintaining registers from the Registrar General’s Office in the absence of an enabling Act of Parliament.

Justice Makarau said the enabling law was not yet in place.

She agreed with Dr Dabengwa’s argument that in terms of Section 239 (c) of the new Constitution, ZEC has the responsibility of all the stated electoral duties but disputed further claims that the commission was sleeping on duty.

Nyika, Kanengoni and Partners law firm is representing ZEC while the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is acting for Dr Dabengwa.

Dr Dabengwa wants ZEC to comply with the law by taking over from the Registrar-General’s Office duties like registering voters, compiling its own voters’ rolls, keeping and maintaining voters’ rolls and ensuring that the public has access to the voters’ rolls as provided for in terms of the Constitution.

He also seeks an order for ZEC to provide the interested public with soft or hard copies of the voters’ roll on request.

It is Dr Dabengwa’s argument that in the 2013 election, Section 6 (2) of Part 3 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution gave the Registrar of Voters authority to perform some of the election duties under the supervision of ZEC, but that future elections should now be conducted in terms of Section 239(c) of the new Constitution.

Since August 10 last year when Section 239 (c) became operative, Dr Dabengwa argues, ZEC has not yet complied with the law.

Source : The Herald