THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) yesterday expressed concern at the lack of preparedness by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) which is set to use two voters’ rolls in Marondera constituency by-election slated for today.

The electoral watchdog said events on the ground showed that Zec did not adequately prepare for the by-election.

“The compilation of the voters’ rolls was a challenge. Zec did not have adequate time and resources and hence two voters’ rolls for the constituency have been produced,” ERC bemoaned.

“On election day voters on the supplementary roll will be redirected to a specific polling station to cast their vote. Whilst Zec has put in place these measures, the ERC believes that this has a potential to disenfranchise the electorate.”

The electoral body will today conduct three parliamentary by-elections in Marondera Central, Mbire and Epworth constituencies.

Marondera Central and Mbire constituencies fell vacant after Zanu PF expelled and recalled from Parliament, Ray Kaukonde and David Butau.

The duo were accused of hobnobbing with former Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, who, along with many others, were expelled from both the party and government for allegedly plotting against President Robert Mugabe.

The Epworth House of Assembly seat fell vacant after the death of Amos Midzi in a suspected case of suicide.

ERC said it noted cases of vote buying ahead of the by-elections.

“ERC notes with concern that vote-buying was rife and in Marondera Central, a certain political party was intimidating voters by recording the serial numbers of the voter registration slips and telling them that the serial numbers will be used to see how they would have voted,” said ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini.

ERC welcomed the use of polling station based voter registration which it said promotes transparency, but noted that political parties were threatening voters.

The electoral body bewailed lack of progress on electoral reforms insisting Zimbabwe has an incoherent and inconsistent electoral law.

“Section 67 of the Constitution guarantees the right to vote for all Zimbabweans. Unfortunately this has not been enjoyed by all. The right to vote in these by-elections will not be enjoyed by all. Prisoners will not be able to vote contrary to provisions of the Constitution,” ERC said. newsday


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