By Farirai Machivenyika
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) expects the provisional voters’ roll to be out by early April and is cleaning up the data collected during the registration blitz to weed out double registrants and ensuring the correct allocation of polling stations to prospective voters.
This was said by ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba during a stakeholders meeting with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and organisations that had petitioned Parliament on concerns over electoral issues.
ZEC conducted a registration blitz between August and February this year and registered over 5,3 million people under the Biometric Voter Registration.
“At the moment, we are in the process of ensuring that everyone has been allocated the correct polling station and that everybody’s names are spelt correctly,” said Justice Chigumba.
“Once that has been done and after cleaning up of the data, we need to do what is called de-duplication, which is using fingerprints to weed out double registrants.
“Now, the credibility of this voters’ roll is going to hinge on the authenticity of that process.”
Justice Chigumba said they would not rush the process to ensure that they produced a credible voters’ roll.
“We will not hurry that process because we need to produce a credible voters’ roll,” she said.
“We need to clean up the data, we need to weed out double registrants and that process takes time, so will not be getting those statistics within the next two weeks, but maybe within a month or six weeks we will have finished the processes.”
“According to our preliminary statistics after the BVR registration blitz, about 60 percent of our registered voters are aged between 18 to 40,” she said.
Justice Chigumba said they had been allocated $98 million from the $148 million they had asked from Treasury.
“We appreciate all the efforts made by Government and Treasury to avail resources,” she said.
“ZEC had submitted a budget of about $148 million to fund the elections and Treasury has committed to giving ZEC $98 million. There is a budget deficit and ZEC can only do that which is possible to do within the limited funds that it has.”
Justice Chigumba told the gathering that there were no serving military personnel or other security departments employed by ZEC.
“We are not precluded from recruiting former members of the security sector provided they are retired and not active,” she said.
“We have less than 15 percent of those, but yes they are in the ZEC, but I will hasten to say most of those retired from their institutions five, six, seven years ago and we have not had any recent recruitments because of the recruitment freeze.”