Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) yesterday insisted that Zanu-PF candidate in the Hurungwe West by-elections, Cde Keith Guzah, was lawfully nominated to represent the revolutionary party although he failed to cast his ballot in the polls conducted on June 10.
It emerged that Cde Guzah did not vote because his name was not yet appearing on the Hurungwe West constituency voters’ roll after he transferred his voting registration from Magunje constituency.
Cde Guzah was among many candidates that contested in the Magunje constituency Zanu-PF primary elections in 2013 and were defeated by Dr Godfrey Gandawa.
Said ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau: “Notwithstanding that he had transferred his registration as a voter to Hurungwe West, Keith Guzah’s name was not electronically updated on the voters’ roll for that constituency because of a transposition of the block numbers relating to his old and new registrations.
“His old block number was captured as his new block number and the transfer was therefore not effected on the computer.”
In line with ZEC’s policy to avoid counterfeit slips, Cde Guzah was denied the right to vote in the by-elections.
Justice Makarau challenged anyone with evidence that Cde Guzah voted to approach the electoral body for further investigations.
“The official report by the acting provincial elections officer for Mashonaland West indicates that Keith Guzah did not vote in the by-election,” she said.
“Should anyone have any information to the contrary, they may confidentially let the commission have the details of where Keith Guzah might have voted for further investigations.”
Reports in sections of the private media claimed that the electoral body accepted Cde Guzah’s nomination papers without verifying.
However, Justice Makarau said the Zanu-PF candidate’s nomination was qualified based on his transfer whose V3 form was there for inspection by anyone.
“(Cde) Keith Guzah was lawfully and procedurally nominated as a candidate for the Hurungwe West by-election,” said Justice Makarau.
“He was subsequently validly elected as the member of the National Assembly for the constituency,” she said.
“For the harmonised elections of 2013, Keith Guzah was a registered voter for Magunje Constituency. On 23 March 2015, he lodged an application with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission at its head office voter registration centre, based at Quantum Mahachi Building, to transfer his registration as a voter from Magunje to Hurungwe West.
“The V3 form setting out his application for transfer of registration as a voter bears Serial Number 010599A and is available for inspection to all interested parties. On the basis of the above transfer, Keith Guzah was duly nominated as a candidate for Hurungwe West on 08 April 2015 when the nomination court for that by-election sat.”
In the hotly contested seat where the British, Americans, Canadians and Australians had interest, Cde Guzah won 5961 votes, while their preferred candidate, Mr Temba Mliswa, got 4239 ballots.
Zanu-PF resoundingly won all the 16 seats in a by-election held on June 10.