By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
25 June 2014
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said the Electoral Act does not entitle individuals with access to the national voters roll.
This is in response to an application filed by constitutional lawyer Justice Alfred Mavedzenge with the High Court last month, seeking to compel ZEC to make the voters’ roll public.
It’s almost a year since the country held the disputed elections ‘won’ by ZANU PF but ZEC has refused to release the register, which is a requirement under the country’s constitution.
Section 62(1) of the new constitution adopted last year entitles Zimbabwean citizens the right of access to information held by national bodies where such information is in the interests of public accountability. But the roll has been kept under wraps, with ZEC claiming that it could not retrieve it from its system as its machines have broken down.
The country’s political parties and the electorate argue that the voters roll is full of anomalies and must be overhauled to ensure free and fair polls in 2018. But following Mavedzenge’s application, ZEC has now filed an opposing affidavit, claiming that the High court has no jurisdiction to consider his application.
In the affidavit ZEC also argues that the Electoral Act does not entitle Mavedzenge access to the national voters roll, but only to constituency and ward voters rolls.
‘Without pre-empting our response to ZEC, I sincerely want to believe that their response to deny me access to the national voters roll may be wrong,’ said Mavedzenge.
The constitutional lawyer also asked why is it that political parties have also been unable to get copies of the voters roll.