Today 23rd July 2013, Restoration of Human Rights ROHR staged its second peaceful demonstration in as many days at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) offices in Harare. The human rights outfit led a group of men and women who have been disenfranchised by the voter registration system administered by ZEC. Demonstrators held banners demanding their right to vote. ZEC officials looked visibly embarrassed by this demonstration which buttresses calls by neutrals that ZEC has no capacity to manage the harmonised election on 31st July 2013.
ZEC has made claims that 93% of the Zimbabwean population eligible to vote are registered and yet they have printed 2 million extra ballot papers for contingency. The 2 million ballot papers represents a 35% contingency and this has outraged people who are saying if ZEC are convinced that 93% of eligible voters have been registered, then there is no need for such a huge contingency. Analysts are saying the huge contingency is either because ZEC is being economical with the truth on the percentage of registered voters or they are simply part of the grand plan to rig the election in favour of one of the contesting parties.
ROHR Executive Director Ephraim Tapa says there are millions of disenfranchised Zimbabweans shown by the huge numbers that were turned away on the last day of registration. He further says ZEC’s capacity and preparedness for the general election on the 31st is in serious doubt given the shambolic way in which the special vote was held. Only 10,000 people cast their ballots out of a possible 70,000. The special ballot was held over two days and the voting centres were fewer than those of the general election.
Kimberley Nyatsanga, spokesperson of the demonstrators said his group comprised aliens, first time voters especially those under 21 and those that have voted before but whose names have mysteriously disappeared from the voters’ roll. He says they will continue to picket at ZEC to draw the attention of the world to the fact that ZEC is failing the people of Zimbabwe.