By Professor Matodzi
Harare, July 29, 2013-The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Monday shielded Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar of Voters from responding to a barrage of queries raised by journalists and diplomats over the shambolic state of the country’s roll of registered voters.
Journalists and diplomats who attended a ZEC briefing held in the capital Monday fielded several questions to the elections management body about the state of the voters’ roll and demanded that Mudede respond to their enquiries.
The journalists and the diplomats wanted Mudede to explain why he had preferred to avail hard copies of the voters’ roll instead of a user friendly and electronic format of the register. The media practitioners also wanted to be advised when he would stop issuing voter registration certificates to people who could not locate their names on the voters’ roll as by late Monday some people were still being issued with the certificates.
But ZEC came to Mudede’s defence and safeguarded him from responding. In protecting Mudede, who was present during the press briefing, ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the Registrar of Voters’ Roll would convene a separate press conference to address the irregularities raised by the aggressive journalists and diplomats.
Mudede, who at one time took to the podium, shied away from responding to the questions and claimed that he had a busy work schedule.
Last week, the Research and Advocacy Unit launched its audit of the country’s roll of registered voters which exposed serious flaws among them containing names of some dead people while some women had their names altered without their consent.
Meanwhile, ZEC commissioners led by Makarau had a torrid time on Monday in trying to convince journalists, diplomats and election observers that the elections management body was ready to conduct a credible election despite presiding over the chaotic administration of the Special Voting process for uniformed forces and some government employees early this month..
Makarau said ZEC had established 9 735 polling stations throughout the country while printing of ballot papers was “now 95 percent complete”.
She also disclosed that Government Printers, one of the two printers contracted by ZEC to print ballot papers had failed to do the job properly and ended up subcontracting the Zimbabwe Republic Police to carry out the printing of the ballot papers.