ZEC says no to ballot paper inspection

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Justice Priscilla Chigumba

Nyemudzai Kakore, Harare Bureau
Printing of the ballot paper is the sole constitutional prerogative of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and any political party which feels aggrieved has the democratic right to approach the African Union and SADC to air their grievances.

Addressing her weekly media briefing yesterday, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the electoral body went beyond its constitutional mandate by inviting all political parties to observe the printing of the ballot paper.

She said in other jurisdictions, stakeholders were allowed to “touch the ballot or feel it” because they had a legislative framework for that.

On the transportation of the ballot papers, Justice Chigumba said it will certainly not be the military, but the printers.

“The strict letter of the law is that we have the exclusive constitutional mandate to procure ballot paper, to design it, to print it and to distribute it. The reason why we keep having these disputes around these areas is that the law does not provide that members of the public or stakeholders be involved in this processes. Our law says only Zec can do that. We respect the democratic right of each and every Zimbabwean to approach any fora that they feel will give them the relief that they seek,” she said.

“We will not be releasing pictures of voters to the public and this is because the right to access to information is not absolute. It must be juggled with the right to privacy. The format in which we have released the voters’ roll, and the information that we have given on the voters’ roll is sufficient to fulfil our constitutional mandate that we must provide a final voters roll which is analysable and which is searchable.

“We are aware of our constitutional duty to be transparent, to provide a final voters’ roll which is analysable and searchable. It is our considered view that we have done so and that we have complied with the law without necessarily impinging on the rights of others.

Rights are not absolute; they are subject to control in a democratic society.

“Would you like your picture and your fingerprint, your name and your identification card number, your telephone, address number to be floating around somewhere in the public arena? We have a duty to actually protect our registered voters from identity thefts and all sorts of things, we balance conflicting interests,” she said.

Added another Zec Commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo:

“The political parties were allowed to observe the printing of the ballot paper at Fidelity Printers in which they saw it from a gallery side. The requirements of the printing regulations at Fidelity Printers is that when you do the observation, you do it from the printing gallery,” he said.

“What we later heard from the parties is that they actually wanted to be involved in the process of touching, getting to the printing press, things that are not allowed in terms of the law. We also want to remind the people of Zimbabwe that the prerogative of the printing of the ballot lies with the Commission. The process of allowing parties to go in and observe was a way of trying to find consensus and common ground with political parties so that we can minimise on conflict and we did our duty. We can’t go beyond, that will be unlawful.”

Justice Chigumba and Dr Moyo were responding to questions where MDC Alliance candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa said they will demonstrate so that Zec produce a new set of ballot papers in the presence of all key stakeholders and that they will dispatch a team to AU and Sadc for their concerns to be addressed.

On polling stations, Justice Chigumba said the Commission had established 10 985 polling stations throughout the country with the list having been published in yesterday’s press.

So far, she said the total number of registered voters is 5 695 706 with 3 073 190 constituting female voters and the remainder of 2 622 516 are male voters.

She said the list will also be published on polling day.

“The law compels the Commission to establish adequate polling stations in each of the country’s 1 958 wards with each polling station being located at a place that is readily accessible to the public, including persons with physical disabilities,” she said.

“We are just a few weeks away from July 30, 2018. We would like Zimbabweans to know that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is conducting final preparations to ensure that the 2018 harmonised elections are successful,” she said.

“the decryption of the remaining registrants who registered during the voters’ roll inspection period was completed and these entries are now on the final voters roll which has a total of 5 695 706 voters.”

To date, Justice Chigumba said Zec has accredited 830 election observers. Of these, 15 are foreign while the rest are local.

Observers, she said, were not allowed to attend multiparty liaison committee meetings but can only do so upon consensus among committee members, but if allowed to attend, the observers are not allowed to record proceedings.

“The Commission is taking steps towards ensuring that the elections will be conducted peacefully in an environment that ensures that the will of the electorate prevails. It is satisfied that its preparations are well on course and is ready to discharge its mandate in accordance with the law,” she said.

“With regards to this week activities we would like to report that we recruited about 130 000 officers required for the polling exercise. The Commission has already recruited 210 constituency election officers and their deputies. Their training was conducted from 2 to 4 July 2018 and they are already in the field.

“An additional 1 958 ward elections officers and their deputies have been recruited and they will be trained between 16 and 18 July 2018.The recruitment of 10 985 presiding officers will be finalised end of this week while that of polling officers will be concluded on 20 July 2018.”

Justice Chigumba added that they will investigate cases where reports have been circulating that registered voters have been receiving messages on their mobile phones to vote for a certain political party or individuals.

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  • Public enemy

    I suppose chamisa is already feeling the heat, seeing that majority of the voters are women whom he dont have regard for ….

  • Mumzee

    These guys ask for too much so much that one can be convinced to think they have a treasury to secure through the ballot yet they are just but a league of unpopular idiot trying to secure their selfish interests to earn a living

    • Legion

      They kno very much that their defeat is certain now so they are trying to find loopholes which they wil blame aftr loosing the election

  • Legion

    Yeah true, let them go ku sadc toonana madzoka coz these mdc guys are becoming very big headed

    • Stonyeni

      Mdc t chamisa does not have locus standi bcz its non registered in the presidential election and sadly not every member of the alliance is willing to make unnecesary steps like those,, so they wil go nowhere

  • Jones

    Somewhat am beggining to feel like chamisa needs the paper before the election to perform his rituals …. God is for us all, the constitution will not let you do that, evil pastor!

  • Stonyeni

    You are all going to loose and being mdc alliance is not an exception, so whether you touch the ballot or not its not going to change tour fate, the electorate does not need noisy people like you, let your achievements make noise

  • Ziyabheda

    Why strengthen their case, just allow them to sample the paper and see if that will win them the votes? Give them a long rope to hang themselves.

  • Panda

    Giving them rope to hang is Soo tempting but it’s another waste of precious time elections r close nw we need to focus on ensuring the election runs smoothly

  • Grace moyo

    Getting the ballot paper wo t change wat God hs planned chaCham sit down

  • Runya

    Conspiracy

  • Riot263

    Imagine after all this we discover Chamisa is an alien ND thy hve been studying our ways nw thy want to lead us so that they can turn our brains to Marsh…… Orrr his brain has already been turned to Marsh …….. ???? Second scenario sounds way better lol

  • pat

    one guy posts seven different comments using different names trying to make it seem like more pple support this zec nonsense.

    • zibulo

      no mfondini, the guy does more than 7, they do up to twenty. go to other news bits on the paper and see , the sentences have the same meaning /source as others, so its very easy to deduce its one person doing it, singing praise after praise of all stories. ZANU has a lot of money to use in this campaign. and the thing is this guy rubbishes anything agains;t ZANU,anything , without him stating reasons. the way he praises Mnagagwa, as if Mnagagwa never rejoice in zimbabweans being beaten at the soles of their feet during strikes last year as minimum force, as if he was not part of gugurahundi, as if he doesn’t know who has the 15 billion usd , as if he punished Mghabe and his wife for messing as leaders of which he was a right hand man till he said he also wanted to be president, as if he doesn’t know that many in ZANU were killed by ZANU for trying to chanllenge for ZANU Presidency- remember Dzikamayi Mavayire and others , this praise singer doesn’t state that ZANU does not have Contestants for President of Party- the party never has and will never have-who ever raises his hand is history-they murder,kill, like they used to in exile-they murdered anyone who asked pertinent questions about bad things they saw then. even this guy cannot ask to be ZANU president-let him dare

    • Doctor Do little

      There are some that think people are stupid. This election is for many already decided in their minds. I ask myself who has offered what over the years? I then say who has had the opportunities to deliver? Who has failed? To me Mugabe is forgotten. Those that were around him and are now shouting change are very fresh in my mind. This is because they had a chance to remove him years back via Parliament even if the asked for the assistance of the opposition. Instead they went for the poison Chalice of a soft coup which might in the future revisit them if they win.

  • kamba

    if there is nothing to hide just let them taste the ballot paper your refusal means something u stupid zanu prostitute chigumba .

    • Samuel Paul Ganyata

      Mentally disturbed troll, agent of the talkative party. Go away from where truth is being afforded platform. go comment on stupid newsday

    • Tafadzwa Zisanhi

      then what aftertasting the ballot paper,,,, think

  • Samuel Paul Ganyata

    I noticed comment platforms are full of people who are somewhat getting paid to talk nonsense and i discovered they complain much about one person having so many accounts. Its now battles of sides on commenting platforms, nowadays , less truth and direction is obtainable. I pity our Nation, we have termites all over.

    • zibulo

      you are one of them, here you deliberately say others complain about one person typing many a/cs. you are lying we are only commenting that you are probably the one who posts as many to fool as many that many are supporting the Coup leaders. sold yourself out by deliberate distortion,thats what you do, you hate and insult differing opinions, typical of ZANU/Mgabe minds, you will never change. and until election time you will intensify your efforts as your employment dates expire after elections kkk. we expect you to post as early and as many more , with more insults , we ain’t seen nothing yet , and the Moderator will get busier as we approach election time, and print more of yours.

      • Samuel Paul Ganyata

        Zibulo, i’m with the opinion that amid your employment as a postman on these platforms_submit yourself to wisdom a little. Why are you guys concerned about Balot Boxes other than economy.I don’t deny to be a changed person.Do you know how much i love to be someone who is worth a better life, and you just cant make it happen cause of hate speech that you cast.
        Critics make us stronger in thinking and constructing but you end up shouting as if i am contesting to Lead, no I’m not , Zibulo.

        Lay facts on the table, don’t just waffle because you abstract me from knowing the truth.

        • Doctor Do little

          Why wouldn’t anyone be concerned with ballot boxes when some of the people that have been rigging and rigging up to the point where they even rig their own primary elections are still in play?

          • Samuel Paul Ganyata

            So what do you suggest the ordinary citizen do to incline own day life, Protest ? Draw blood, battle lines for each other ? letting situation tighten. Corruption is not end by demonstrations and trials. Let them walk for economy and development ! not to quench politicians thirst, that’s nonsensical.

          • Doctor Do little

            There is no one quenching Politicians thirst. This election is about the voice of the people. If there are some that are stifling the voice of the people with dodgy monouvers it is then up to the people to show displeasure. It is not at all about development. The economy and development are expected after the people say whom they want to entrust their future to. The flood waters around those that have held us back whilst they boosted their personal economies are rising and no one will stop the floods.

          • Samuel Paul Ganyata

            Yeah, you are objective enough and i submit, but look around, see the big Leagues, how can one get past. Isn’t it wise enough that you don’t invest in burning hopes for nothing but in bringing down one bad apple at a time, one at a time -until fate of just is achieved?

          • Doctor Do little

            Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the encouragement for people to express different views without fear of State and its machinery are essential elements of democracy. The way you and I are debating now is what should be encouraged. A leader that gets no criticism is a poor leader especially if it is because of fear. If Zanu pf are sure they have this one in the bag why are they so keen to protect the ZEC. After all institutions whether they be state or independent should be subject to scrutiny.If the opposition are saying there is something wrong why wont the ruling Party say we will look into it rather than having Kindergarten Politician like Constantino running his mouth about the opposition being cry babies. It makes Chamisa look much more mature than him. Problem is there is no one including ED with the guts to ask him to tone it down.

          • Samuel Paul Ganyata

            True but do you know the situation facing mere, ordinary families when it comes to liberty of democracy,

            ONE HAND – when they support ZANU PF, they are served and protected from political manipulations, do not get harassed to review their choices and are safe but benefit nothing in the end.
            OTHER – when they go for MDC or whatever change, they are vulnerable, they are asked to review their choices, they never get protection whatsoever, no one will fight for them, whenever that party wins, they never get rewarded – walls get built and a few are thrown into the inner circle.

            What assurance do they have that any side could bring them hope, no one is to there to trust all sides claiming reform, what ever side they take is suicide.
            Maybe you and I might be one from those innocent families.

          • Boya Benyathi

            You are real fool. Just read what you wrote and u can see clearly how fooolish u are

          • Samuel Paul Ganyata

            So you suggest that calling someone a fool can make you better person in the new dispensation.

  • Vumani

    This earthquake bleaching corrupt incompetent fat dodgy judge will get what is coming post 30 th July it boggles the mind why the Junta would appoint a person who was subject a corruption scandal. The bleached one betrays her idiocy by suggesting that the constitution is not binding but persuasive what a preposterous interpretation of basic law. These ambi bleaching scarfists will not get away with any attempt to rig the elections with technology their actions will be scrutinised.

  • tinei ganyani

    its very tricky kuti munhu wese aone ma ballot papers because panogona kuzogadzirirwa ma duplicates pakaitwa masive vote rigging munyika. ZEC ngaifambe nemutemo tiite free and fair elections using and independent body

  • mazicobomoco7

    Prisclla should do what is consttutionally and legally right without any fear or favour, whether it be Sadc, AU or Un, ZEC is an independent commission instituted by various political parties and as such should carry out its mandatory duties as laid down in the constitution of the land without any local or international pressure

  • Brutal Truth

    Do they get sexier than Priscilla Chigumba?