Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Opposition turns heat over ballot paper design

Views
THE opposition MDC Alliance has turned up the heat on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), accusing it of violating sections of the Electoral Act with their design of the controversial presidential ballot ahead of the equally gripping July 30 general elections.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Seasoned lawyer and MDC Alliance senatorial candidate David Coltart said the designs by Zec were illegal and not in conformity with the Electoral Act and regulations of 2005 updated on June 1 this year.
“Presidential ballot violates section 57 of the Electoral Act because Form V10 does not allow a double page. It has to be on a single page, as the South Africans did in 2014,” Coltart said.
He said Zec had a mandate to ensure that they delivered the election within the confines of the law, adding that the current ballot paper was outside their mandate.
“Section 239(b) says Zec must ensure elections are in accordance with the law. The law is section 57 of the Act and Form V10 … design means artistical fashion, colour, font type and attractiveness, which does not give them the right to alter the form,” Coltart said.
MDC Alliance has vowed to block the elections, accusing Zec of entering a design which favoured the incumbent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on the presidential ballot.
MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa has indicated they suspected the ballot was not even printed in Zimbabwe as claimed by Zec, adding it could have been printed in Russia.
Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba (pictured) has maintained that the commission was operating within the confines of the law and they hold the exclusive rights to design and print of the ballot.
She also said the demands of printing on one column would have cost Zec more and confuse the voters because of the high number of presidential candidates — the 23 of them.
“The concerned one-column design by a concerned stakeholder would have resulted in a long ballot paper of A3 plus in size and required double the amount of paper. It would have been difficult for the folded paper to fit in the aperture of the ballot box because of size,” Chigumba said in an interview with our sister paper The
Standard.