Thursday, July 12, 2018

Zec beefs up voters’ roll

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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has pulled another shocker by adding new names on its biometric voters’ roll (BVR) weeks after releasing what it claimed was the final version.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In its latest update, Zec said the BVR contained 5 695 706 eligible voters. But the BVR released on June 18 had 5 683 936 voters, an indication that 11 770 new voters had been added onto the roll.
In her weekly brief on Monday, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba insisted that all eligible voters were on the roll which the commission released, but an audit shows the discrepancy.
“Decryption of the remaining registrants who registered during the voters’ roll inspection period was completed and these entries are now on the final voters’ roll which has a total of 5 695 706 voters,” she said then.
She added that this decryption was done well before June 18.
MDC Alliance accused Zec of releasing a fake voters’ roll which did not contain names of voters who registered between May 19 and June 2 when Zec was doing its verification of the provisional voters’ roll.
Zec denied the allegations, saying they would be no extra names to be added to the roll, but its latest figures show a movement in numbers.
Meanwhile, the mystery on how Zanu PF managed to get its hands on registered voters’ cellphone numbers and their constituencies, deepened with the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) and service providers distancing themselves from the leakage.
Potraz said it did not share any subscriber information with third parties, as it does not keep such data.
“Potraz prohibits sharing subscriber information to third parties,” the regulator said.
Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security minister Super Mandiwanzira waded into the debate, saying the Zec voters’ roll was now unsecured on internet with phone numbers and threatened to deal with the website hosting the information.
“The ministry is aware that Zec issued a protected copy of the roll while the one that has been published in the internet is unprotected. Such data cannot and should not be made public without the permission of the voters themselves. Publication of physical addresses and phone numbers of voters without their authority is an abuse of the internet just as it is unconstitutional,” Mandiwanzira wrote on Twitter.
Mandiwanzira did not name the site hosting the unprotected voters’ roll, with Zec saying it did not release voters’ phone numbers to Zanu PF. He also did not say how the site got access to the phone numbers, but promised a clampdown.
Zec distanced itself from the embarrassing boob, placing the blame on telecommunications companies and supermarkets.
MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti, said it was shameful that people caught with their hands in the cookie jar were trying to smear innocent people with dirt.