The Election Resource Centre (ERC), having observed polling day on 30 July 2018, noted that the voters’ roll used was finalised on 1 June 2018 and printed on 4 July 2018.
The ERC went to court in May 2018 requesting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to release the voters’ roll used for inspection, for purposes of review and feedback. However, ZEC appealed against a clear judgement by the High Court which encouraged transparency and accountability.
While a “voters’ roll” was availed to the ERC for analysis on 18 July 2018, the version presented was an incomplete excel version of the roll and therefore not the voters’ roll as prescribed by law. An analysis done on this version of the “voters’ roll” revealed some inadequacies which ZEC could have addressed before the finalisation of the document to be used on polling day.
A copy of the incomplete final “voters’ roll” in excel format was availed to the ERC on 29 July 2018.
ERC said from observations, it is clear that the copy of the final voters’ roll used for polling cannot be similar to the rolls shared with stakeholders as final in an excel format beginning from the 25th to the 29th of July 2018.
The conclusion was arrived at given that;
1. The ZEC indicated that they had effected some changes to the roll after the 18th of July 2018 in explaining the difference between the number of registered voters on the excel files shared and what ZEC published on their website.
2. The complete biometric voters’ roll only availed on polling day was clearly marked as having been printed on the 4th of July 2018 and having been with effect from the 1st of June 2018 and therefore could not contain changes effected after the 18th of July 2018.
“It is unfortunate that yet again, Zimbabwe has proceeded with another election in the absence of a final voters’ roll shared with all stakeholders in a complete format against the 2013 recommendations of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) observers.
“Going forward, it is essential that ZEC urgently proceeds to publish the complete biometric voters’ roll used on the 30th of July 2013 for purposes of transparency, accountability and verifiability of the election,” ERC said.