THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has refused to release the December 9 by-elections voters roll to candidates contesting in the polls, NewsDay can report.
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) candidate for the Mabvuku-Tafara Constituency Febion Kufahakutizwi has since dragged Zec to court seeking an order that compels the electoral body to release the voters roll ahead of the by-elections.
Under the Electoral Act, Zec is required to give candidates copies of the roll soon after confirmation of their candidature.
Kufahakutizwi, who is being represented by Obey Shava of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, stated in his founding affidavit that he had written to Zec on several occasions demanding the release of the voters roll to no avail.
He wants Zec to release the document within 48 hours of the order.
“Through my party’s legal practitioners, I have requested a copy of the voters roll from the respondents by writing to them in a letter dated November 15, 2023 and received at their offices on November 16, 2023,” Kufahakutizwi said.
“Despite receipt of the said letter and our undertaking to pay the prescribed fee for the availing of the voters roll, the copy has not been furnished to date neither has the letter been responded to by the respondents.”
He said if there was no court order, he risked going to the election without the voters roll.
“The by-election is set to be held on December 9, 2023 which is less than two weeks only, counting from the date of this application.
“If the respondents are not compelled by this court to avail the voters roll to me as a candidate, the election will come and go without me being afforded the right to the voters roll as protected by the Electoral Act,” Kufahakutizwi said.
Opposition political parties, electoral watchdogs and other stakeholders have expressed concern over the failure by Zec to provide the voters roll whenever it is requested.
Last year, opposition candidates failed to access the voters roll during the March by-elections, while their ruling Zanu PF counterparts had access to the document.
In the run up to the August 23 elections, CCC candidates also took Zec to court demanding the release of the voters roll.
Seven days before the general election, the opposition complained that it had not yet been furnished with the voters roll.