'2013 voters' roll has no place in 2018,' says watchdog - no, just demand verifiable roll

'2013 voters' roll has no place in 2018,' says watchdog - no, just demand verifiable roll
Published: 20 August 2017 (255 Views)
Election Resource Centre a civil rights watchdog has warned that the 2013 voters' roll has no place in the 2018 election.

"One narrative that has prompted the initiative to lay bare the dangers of non-exhaustively burying the 2013 voters' roll is the narrative of the possibility of an early election. The state media has proposed, through statements attributed to a senior Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) official, that there is scope for the President to call for an early election," argued Election Resource Centre.

Election Resource Centre has some valid arguments.

Actually, we should not concern ourselves so much with what voters' roll Zanu PF using for next year but focus instead on making sure the regime releases a verifiable voters' roll at least one month before the elections as is required by law. Zanu PF refused to release the 2013 voters' roll and got away with it. We must make sure that does not happen ever again!

If the truth be told, there is no 2013 voters' roll. Zanu PF refused to release the 2013 voters roll at least one month before voting day as is required by law. When has only to look at the blatant vote rigging that took place that year to understand why the regime refused to release the voters' roll.

Many, many people were denied the vote that year because the names were not on the voters' roll although they had registered either because they were deliberately left out of the voters' roll or their details were posted in another constituent voters' roll other than the one they expected. On the other hand, we all saw on YouTube hooded Zanu PF youths who were bussed from one polling station to the next casting multiple votes. Zanu PF could not release the voters' roll because these vote rigging shenanigans would have uncovered.

The 2013 voters' roll was the smoking gun to how Zanu PF rigged the election that year.

Even to this day, Zanu PF still refuse to release the 2013 voters' roll. It would be easy to troll through it and see how many people had their details posted in the wrong constituent voters' roll. The smoking gun is still smoking!

The proposal to come up with a new voters' roll based on the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system appealed to Zanu PF for one good reason – it gave the regime the opportunity to bury the 2013 voters roll without having to release it.

Still, the regime has dragged its feet over the purchasing of the BVR kits and producing the new voters' roll for its selfish vote rigging reasons. There is less than a year to go and still the voter registration exercise has not started. The reason for all this delay is obvious; the regime has every intention to rig the 2018 elections just as it rigged the 2013 elections.

The voter registration process will not be clean so everyone eligible to vote has the chance to vote. The regime wants the process to be rushed to mud the waters and thus hide its vote rigging shenanigans. If the regime releases the 2018 voters' roll, there will be no time to verify anything before the elections but still a lot can be uncovered after the elections.

The regime will NOT be releasing a verifiable the new BVR based voters' roll; of that we can be certain.

The failure to release a verifiable voters' roll before the July 2013 elections is the one "electoral irregularity" that the AU Election Observer team noted and highlighted in their report. Zanu PF got away with not releasing the 2013 voters' roll but the regime must know that it will not get away with it again!

So, it may well have dawned on Zanu PF that it is too late to rush through the registering of 7 million voters and produce a voters' roll and still hide its vote rigging antics. Election Resource Centre are therefore right to flag the possibility the regime will now want to revert to the 2013 voters' roll as the basis on next year's roll.

The regime will not be foolish enough to release the dirty and still smoking 2013 voters' roll. Forget that one!

It will release a cleaned up 2013 voters' roll. The nation's attention will be focussed on next year's elections to concern themselves with what happened in the last elections. People whose names were missing in the constituent roll in July 2013, for example, will just be glad their names are back on the roll.

The problem for Zanu PF with a sanitised 2018 voters roll will be it will be have closed many of its vote rigging options. And if the regime should still try to rig the vote, the people will have the voters' roll, the smoking gun, spelling out how the rigging was done.

Zanu PF has more than the 2/3 majority in parliament and in the senate and it can pass any law as it sees fit to use a voters' roll based the old system, the new BVR system or a mix of the two. What Zanu PF cannot do is enact a law absolving itself from the constitutional obligation to release a verifiable voters' roll at least one month before the voting day.

Of course, it was down right stupid and irresponsible of Tsvangirai and his MDC friends to agree to contest the 2013 elections with no verifiable voters' roll. Even if Tsvangirai & co. make the same stupid mistake again, as they have done on many other issues in the past; it is hard to see SADC, AU and the Zimbabwean people themselves allowing Zanu PF to get away with this blatant vote rigging tactic again.

SADC and AU are set to reject Zimbabwe's 2018 elections result as a true reflection of the people's democratic wishes, the repeated failure to produce a verifiable voters' roll is one reason. The two organisations reject Zanu PF's election victory in 2008 and forced it to agree on the implementation of a raft of democratic reforms designed to stop vote rigging. Sadly none of the reforms were implemented and so this time Zanu PF can be sure SADC and the nation will want a solution with rock-solid guarantees that the reforms will be implemented completely and timeously!

- Wilbert Mukori

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