ZEC ready for by-elections

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Local News, Politics | 0 comments

ZEC ready for by-elections

Hosia Mviringi

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says they are ready to conduct elections at anytime, including the forthcoming March 26, 2022 by-elections.

This was said by the Commission Chairperson Justice Pricilla Chigumba in ZTN interview this week.

“It is important to note that in 2019, the Commission, in its 5 year strategic plan agreed and resolved to treat elections as a process and not an event. This entails planning for electoral cycle in advance,” said Justice Chigumba.

The act of treating elections as a process involves such activities as continuous voter education, registration and updating of the voters’ roll in anticipation of elections that can be called at any time such as by-elections to fill vacant seats.

Justice Chigumba scoffed at allegations that the Commission deliberately disenfranchised potential voters by suspending voter registration rovers.

“ZEC has 63 permanent district and 10 Provincial offices which have always been open throughout the year for voter registration. These offices have never been inundated or overwhelmed with potential voters to the extent that anyone can claim disenfranchisement,” said Justice Chigumba.

The Commission, in its continuous readiness plan produces annual work plans each year that span from January to December. This ensures that ZEC is fully prepared and ready for elections at any given opportunity


Justice Chigumba further clarified the difference between voter registration mobile blitz and voter registration.

She explained that voter registration blitz is the deployment of voter registration rovers to marginalised remote communities to encourage people to register as voters.

The Electoral Act, she said, was persuasive, meaning that it is the duty of a prospective voter to take the initiative to get out there and be registered as a voter.

Instead, she advocated for massive investment in robust voter education so that people appreciate the value in participating in the country’s democratic processes.

While voter registration rovers are deployed, she explained, permanent registration offices remained open through out the year.

“Suspension of voter registration between last year to February this year 2022 was primarily a result of two scenarios which were beyond the control of and unforeseen by the Commission”.

Cases of Covid-19 were detected at the Commission’s three Provincial offices, thus the Commission could not risk it by further exposing staff and clients to the pandemic,” Justice Chigumba said.

Secondly, as may be appreciated that in the past the Commission had forged synergies with the Office of the Registrar General, specifically to assist first time voters with acquiring of National Identity Documents which they would then use to register as voters,” she continued.

Commissioner Chigumba revealed that the Office of the Registrar General approached the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committee to register their incapacitation to conduct mobile registration due to reasons that can be best explained by the relevant office.

This automatically meant that the targeted constituency of first time voters would not be able to register as voters for lack of identity documents, thus defeating the need for voter registration rovers.

Asked whether the Commission is sufficiently funded for the upcoming elections, Commissioner Chigumba was very affirmative. She revealed that treasury had already funded the Commission for the work at hand to the tune of ZW$2 billion.

“Budget for voter registration blitz and delimitation is already available, thanks to treasury for funding the exercise to the tune of ZW$2 billion. I must however, hasten to say that treasury is fully funding the exercises,” said Justice Chigumba.

Voter registration blitz is designed to shore up figures as these will be critical in determining boundaries in the envisaged mandatory delimitation exercise which is guided by the number of registered voters in a constituency.