Human rights lawyers have said it is illegal for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to hire out the printing and designing of ballot papers for any election because the Constitution specifically gives them the responsibility to do that in-house.
Zimbabwe Lawyers of Human Rights (ZLHR) member Brian Dube told a Zimbabwe Election Support Network workshop in Gweru recently that unless Zec took control of the printing and designing of ballot papers, it would be “dreaming” to expect the 2018 elections to be free and fair.
“The law was put in place purely to cure the mischief of Zec hiring tricky people to do the designing and printing of ballot papers because it compromises the security in terms of numbers of ballots printed and even the trust voters have in the system,” he said.
Dube also said it was a known fact that Zec that had no technology or expertise to “cook up” sophisticated ballots.
He said this was why the law required Zec itself to design and print the ballots.
Dube further submitted that the Constitution made it legal for people in the Diaspora to vote.
“The Constitution specifically says you have to be a Zimbabwean and 18 (and above) to be able to vote in any election. It does not say you have to be in Zimbabwe and, therefore, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who are 18 and above should be allowed to vote,” the human rights lawyer said.
Failure by Zec to provide a voters’ roll also came under the spotlight, with ZLHR saying it made the poll illegal, telling political parties who were represented at the meeting that they should apply to have elections delayed or extended until a voters’ roll was made available.
The voters’ roll has previously been kept in the custody of register-general Tobaiwa Mudede, but has now been moved to the custody and control of Zec.