Zec 2018 election roadmap out

29 Jan, 2017 - 00:01 0 Views
Zec 2018 election roadmap out Justice Rita Makarau

The Sunday News

Justice Rita Makarau

Justice Rita Makarau

Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has finalised its 2018 harmonised elections roadmap, and plans to come up with a “perfect” voters’ roll between April and December 2017.

A Zec-appointed technical committee is already assessing 12 potential biometric voter-registration kit suppliers and will shortlist three of them in the next two weeks. It is envisaged the coming dispensation will prevent voter duplication and names of deceased persons appearing on the roll by capturing prospective voters’ biometric data like fingerprints and photographs.

In an interview with our Harare Bureau, Zec Chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the roadmap has countrywide voter-registration in April, demarcating polling station maps and wrapping up major logistics before 2017 is out.

Justice Makarau said the plan had been timed to put the elections management body in good stead to deliver the polls once a Presidential proclamation is made. She pointed out that Zec is working with 31 July 2018 as the deadline by which elections must be held.

According to Section 158 of the Constitution, “A general election must be held so that polling does not take place more than (a) thirty days before the expiry of the five-year period . . .”

Zimbabwe holds its general election every five years. Justice Makarau said, “The process (of acquiring biometric voter-registration kits) started in December 2016 when we flighted an advert inviting vendors to show interest by putting in their bids.

“The closing date for bids was January 17 and the bids are now being evaluated by a technical committee which will make recommendations to us. Thereafter, we will invite the best performing three to demonstrate whether their equipment is user-friendly. We will look at things like battery life and how compact their equipment is. We will sign a contract with the winning supplier once this has been satisfied.”

She added: “We hope to have the equipment in early April to allow us to start the voter-registration exercise, which, according our calculations, should take us up to November. We had 12 companies that showed interest. Among them are a few Zimbabwean companies. We hope (the Zimbabwean companies) win the tender, but it should be on merit; not just because they are Zimbabwean. The bidders are from Israel, Canada, Belgium and Zimbabwe.”

The Government and the United Nations Development Programme will jointly purchase the US$30 million equipment, marking the first time Zimbabwe will use such technology.

On demarcating polling station areas, Justice Makarau said, “We have started off by using polling stations that we used in 2013. That is the basis. And then we are defining a catchment area for that polling station.

For instance, if Sakubva High School in Mutare was a polling station in 2013, we are then demarcating an area around the school, looking at the number of households we think can constitute up to 1 000 to  1 500 voters, and that will constitute a polling area for the purpose of using that polling station.

“We are also saying voters should not travel a distance of more than 5km to a polling station. It’s a mini delimitation save that we are not changing ward or constituency boundaries that were put in place by the last delimitation commission of 2008.”

Polling station-based voting is provided for under Section 22A of the Amended Electoral Act, and has been trialled in by-elections conducted since 2013.

Between 800 and 1 500 voters will be assigned to a particular polling station within their ward.


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