Frequently Asked Questions

Can one register from any registration centre or are people required to register at a specific registration centre?
One can register from any voter registration centre in Zimbabwe but they can only vote at a particular allocated polling centre using the address given in the provided proof of residence.

Why proof of residence? What is its purpose? What about the majority of youths in urban areas who are renting and do not own property?

Proof of residence is a legal requirement and is meant to allocate an eligible voter a particular polling station where they will cast their ballot as stated in Section 157 (1)(b) of the Constitution as read with section 23 of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13]. This is also necessary because the country has adopted polling station specific voters’ roll and voting. There are several documents that can be accepted as proof of residence in addition to a sworn in affidavit.

What will happen to the old voter's roll? Will there be a totally new voter register?

The BVR exercise entails the registration of all prospective voters afresh to create a completely new voters’ roll. This means that the old voters’ roll will be discarded.

Why is ZEC taking finger prints when they are not going to be used on voting day?

As you may probably be aware, every individual has unique finger prints. This enhances identification of voters and also prevents chances of multiple registrations. The BVR machines will automatically detect such attempts. This means that the chances of duplicates and multiple voting are avoided.

Is ZEC going to avail soft copies of the voters’ roll to political parties?

Section 21(3) [Chapter 2:13] of the Electoral Act states that the Commission shall within a reasonable period of time provide any person who requests the voters’ roll, and who pays the prescribed fee, with a copy of any ward or constituency voters roll, either in printed or in electronic form as the person may request. ZEC is bound by this legal provision.

Why is ZEC not hiring unemployed qualified teachers for its programmes than drawing teachers from classes?

Section 10 of the Electoral Act states that at the request of the Commission, the chairpersons of the Public Service Commission and the Health Services Board established by the Health Services Act [Chapter 15:16] (No. 20 of 2004) and the responsible authority of any statutory body or council shall second to the Commission such persons in the employment of the State, the statutory body or the local authority, as the case may be, as are necessary to hold such offices and perform such functions as the Commission may direct during an election. The law did not give a provision for unemployed teachers to be hired by ZEC during an election period.

Does ZEC have the constitutional power to do anything to political parties or individuals who would have tempered with the process of voter registration, for example recording serial numbers, chiefs charging people to write for them letters as proof of residence?

The Commission has the obligation to educate the electorate on electoral issues in order for them to be informed on their right on such issues. It also has the power to engage with various stakeholders for purposes of resolving electoral conflicts amicably. However, any issue that borders on criminal conduct is dealt with in the normal criminal justice system.

What arrangements will the Commission put in place to address election related violence? To what extent does the Commission plan to work with the Zimbabwe Republic Police, The Human Rights Commission and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)? Can CSOs be included in the Multi-party Liaison Committees?

Measures to address election related violence are provided for in Section 133F to 133K of the Electoral Act. ZEC will work with ZHRC as envisaged in terms of the law. ZEC will continue to educate the electorate on these issues. In addition, ZEC engages parties through Multiparty Liaison Committees which are set up soon after the Nomination Courts right through to polling. Aggrieved parties may also approach the courts for recourse. The composition of Multi-party Liaison Committees is made by legal provision.

In some instances, voters have been instructed to line behind their village heads and instructed to vote for certain political parties. Does ZEC condone this? Why has it remained quiet when such has happened?

ZEC does not organise how voters come to a polling station (groups or individuals). ZEC, however, will continue to educate the electorate on the secrecy of the ballot which will render such alleged practices ineffective.

What does the Commission regard as its top three challenges (in relation to its operations, as well as preparations for 2018)?

The top three challenges ZEC faces are as follows:
1. Falsehoods and negative perceptions that ZEC rigs elections thereby reducing the stakeholder confidence in     the electoral process.
2. Polarised society
3. Funding

Since the ZEC has no adequate funds for on-going voter education and information, is it not possible to open up for more voter educators/informers without restrictions?

The area of voter registration is regulated by the law (Section 40C of the Electoral Act). As per section 40C of the Electoral Act, voter education is open to all CSOs and Trusts whose functions include voter education and Zimbabwean citizens or permanent residence of Zimbabwe. These persons must submit their material for approval by ZEC and will be monitored by ZEC. Political parties are also permitted to conduct Voter education but outside ZECs supervision.

Why was mapping of polling station catchment areas done and how will it improve the voting system in the country?

Section 22A of the Electoral Act provides for the creation of polling station specific voters’ registers at a date fixed by the Commission. Mapping is a precursor to voter registration and furthermore, the created polling station specific areas form the basis of allocating voters to their respective polling station during Voter Registration in line with the Commission’s thrust of going polling station specific. Polling station specific voter registers make it easy for the Commission administratively to do its work, since focus will be on a defined number of voters per polling station. A voter appears in one polling station within a Ward. Counting of votes becomes easier and provision of logistics will be enhanced by the polling station specific system.

Media coverage of elections should be impartial.

The conduct of news media during an election period is regulated in terms of section 160J and 160K of the Electoral Act [Chapter 2:13]. It is important to take note that the Commission is required by law to set up a Media Monitoring Committee only during an election period. Outside the election period, it has no power to regulate the media or to ensure its impartiality. An election period is defined as the period from the date of the Proclamation of an election to the date of the announcement of the results. Further, the Commission has no power to determine the programmes which the broadcaster should air. For instance, the law does not empower the Commission with power to order media houses to hold presidential debates. Detailed content of the provisions of the Electoral Act is further expounded in the Media Coverage of Elections Regulations SI 33 of 2008. The regulations provide for the allocation of airtime on television and radio, election programmes and advertisements, election broadcasts and appeals against decisions by the broadcaster. Proposals on how the law could further be improved are welcome for recommendation to the Legislature.

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