The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has tentatively set the date for the next general election at no later than September 2018.
This comes weeks after Laxton Group Limited was awarded a tender to supply ZEC with 3 000 biometric voter registration (BVR) kits. In an interview with Zimpapers Television Network last week, Justice Rita Makarau said the commission anticipated to complete voter registration by December this year and finalise a new voters’ roll early next year.
Justice Makarau said while the actual proclamation of the next elections was the prerogative of the President, the commission’s preparatory exercise made it possible to hold elections before September 2018. “The proclamation is done by the President, it is outside our mandate, and we know, we are sure, that he will be guided by the Constitution and we are anticipating that elections will be not later than September 2018.
“We had initially ordered 1 500 BVR kits, but then we realised that time was not on our side and we had to renegotiate with the Laxton Group of Companies outside the initial tender document and this has seen us increase the kits to 3 000,” she said. “According to the agreement that we have signed with them they are supposed to bring the kits into the country 90 days from the date we make payment to them. I am happy to say Treasury has now availed full funding for the kits and soon we will be making the payment to Laxton.”
Justice Makarau dismissed allegations by opposition parties and the private media that ZEC worked with Israeli company Nikuv to rig the 2013 harmonised elections. “The elections were not rigged, they reflected the will of the people of Zimbabwe,” she said. “We don’t know who Nikuv is. As ZEC we have never worked with Nikuv, as ZEC we have no contract with Nikuv, current or past, and we do not intend to work with Nikuv in 2018. In short we do not know Nikuv.”
Justice Makarau said it was not true that ZEC was controlled by Zanu-PF in the discharge of its duties.
“We are not biased in favour of any political interest, we are not biased in favour of any political party and the perception that we are inclined to Zanu-PF is regrettable in our view,” she said. “We are trying to minimise that perception by making sure that we are open to all political parties and treat them as equals before us.”
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