High court dismisses CCC demand for release of voters roll

Staff Reporter

High court Judge Never Katiyo, has dismissed an application by Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Harare North legislator, Alan Makharm, demanding the release of the electronic voters roll.

Last year in October, Mr Makham took Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to the High Court demanding the provision of the votersroll in the electronic format alleging that the 58 days ZEC said it needed to produce a printed copy was excessive.

On passing the judgement yesterday, Judge Katiyo raised some serious security concerns saying ZEC is mandated to safeguard the electronic voters roll as it can be tampered with in the advent of social media.

Katiyo said, as a result, it’s not possible for ZEC to unveil the register to stakeholders until the commission fixes security issues so that not any individual may interfere with its contents.

Speaking to this publication, a political activist said the judge was right to rule in favour of ZEC because the release of the electronic voters roll would compromise the security of its database especially if it ended up in the wrong hands.

“lt is within ZEC’s rights to refuse to issue electronic copies of the voters roll as recipients can tamper with them especially if it ends up in the wrong hands. An example is that of Team Pachedu which on previous occasions tampered with the documents to suit their deceitful narrative which can create an unnecessary uproar as we approach the  elections.

“It is better for the voters roll to be released at the appropriate time to avoid any chances of abuse and malicious manipulation, which could lead to another disputed election,” said the commentator.

Meanwhile, according to the Government gazette of Statutory 145 of 2022 (SI145/2022) titled, Electoral (Voter Registration) (Amendment) regulations, 2022 (No.1), a hard copy of a monochrome copy of the voters roll shall be US$1 per page. ZEC has offered for a fee to print voters roll and in any case, any voter has the right to walk into the ZEC offices and look at the roll free of charge.