JUDGE President, George Chiweshe will tomorrow hear an application by MDC-T challenging the holding of postal voting exercise citing irregularities as Zimbabwe pays the price for hurriedly organising polls without following proper processes.
REPORT BY NDAMU SANDU
The two-day postal voting exercise begins today and MDCT wants the court to direct the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to conduct the special ballot exercise on or before July 20.
The country is set to hold watershed elections on July 31 to end the life of the inclusive government formed in 2009.
About 87 000 people are expected to cast their ballots under the special vote. Of that, police officers form the bulk at 69 000, a figure hotly disputed by the MDC-T who said that 44 133 police officers are on the payroll.
In an application filed by MDC-T and its deputy chairperson of the election directorate, Morgan Komichi, the party wants the special voting exercise to be postponed until ZEC “has properly verified and authenticated the findings on the 69 222 applications whereupon same should be made public so as not to mar the elections with irregularities potentially arising from a disputed special vote”.
The respondents in the case are ZEC, co-ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone, commissioner general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Augustine Chihuri and minister of Finance, Tendai Biti.
It requested the court to direct ZEC to set up mechanisms by which the special voting exercise shall be transparent, its beneficiaries fully verifiable and that ZEC shall not exceed the official number of police officers in the special voting exercise.
MDC-T said in the application that Commissioner General of the police who is cited as the third respondent had failed to explain to MDC-T the disparities on the number of police officers to cast special ballots.
“Applicant have a valid and reasonable apprehension that the special ballot box is fraught with malignant disparities caused by the lack of transparency on who actually constitutes the 69 222 police officers who have applied for the special ballot vote when in fact the official figures show a glaringly low figure of just about 44 113,” MDC-T said.
The police had in the past said the number of officers seeking special ballots had increased to accommodate special constabulary that would assist on the polls day.
MDC-T wants the court to direct ZEC to set specific measures by which it should abide in order to ensure that the privilege of the special ballot is not abused to the potential detriment of the credibility of the national ballot.
To that end, MDC-T said, it sought that ZEC be directed to report back to the court and conduct the special ballot on or before July 20 which is the last day on which the special ballot should be conducted in terms of the Constitution.
In his founding affidavit, Komichi said the official number of polling stations across Zimbabwe is just under 10 000 and an approximate number of 40 000 police officers would be required.
“The excess of 29 000 cannot and should not be held as being a reasonable safety precaution in case some of the deployed officers cannot attend at the polling stations to which they are deployed,” Komichi said.
“Moreover, it cannot be argued that all police officers will be deployed away from their wards within which they are registered; in the same way it cannot be argued that all police officers are registered voters. This renders the apparent dichotomy in the figures even more glaring.
MDC-T is represented by Harrison Nkomo and Taona Nyamakura of Mtetwa and Nyambirai legal practitioners.
MDC formations accuse Zanu PF of fast-tracking election processes to facilitate rigging. Zanu PF says the MDC formations are afraid of polls as ministers want to continue enjoying the comfort of government.