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Red flag raised over polls

Civil society groups yesterday questioned the integrity of the voters roll saying they doubted the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) conducted the final de-duplication exercise.

BY STAFF REPORTER

The groups that comprise the Election Situation Room (ESR) said if Zec failed to carry out the exercise, there was a danger of multiple voting and people voting using fake identity documents in tomorrow’s harmonised elections.
“Biometric systems have been introduced to provide a unique identification for each voter,” the ESR said in a statement.

“The automatic finger print identification system (AFIS) was explicitly procured to identify and eliminate the possibility of duplicate entries.

“For this to work, every entry on the register must be checked against every other voter entry.

“To increase confidence in the electoral process Zec needs to confirm and reassure voters that the AFIS system has been run against every single voter entry to clearly identify and eliminate duplicates.

“Doubts about the integrity of the roll are further compounded by the late release of the final voters roll.”

The ESR said “it was most unfortunate that yet again the final roll was only made available 96 hours before Election Day leaving insufficient time for it to be analysed by political parties and independent groups.”

Meanwhile, ESR urged Zec to ensure sufficient transparency on the results aggregation, tabulation and publication processes.

The ESR said at a minimum, Zec must publish an Excel spreadsheet that lists all the results by polling station as they are confirmed to provide much-needed assurance on the visibility and trust in the results process.

“In order to meet its legal obligation to present the Zimbabwean electorate with a transparent Presidential return and not simply a tabulated total figure, Zec should publicly release the spreadsheet containing the presidential election results from each polling station underpinning the aggregated total presidential results from the July 30th election,” said the ESR in a statement.

“Political parties and observer organisations need to be able to check and verify that the tallied results match the results collected by their agents and observers at the polling centres in order to provide confidence in the results.

“There is a serious risk of non-acceptance of the results if stakeholders are unable to verify tallying.”

British ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing urged Zec to respond to “this important call from civil society.”

“Providing results data in this way would increase confidence in the results tabulation process,” Laing posted on Twitter.

MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa has accused Zec of trying to manipulate tomorrow’s elections to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa wins.

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