Zec in dire fi­nan­cial straits

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Pamela Shumba Se­nior Re­porter

THE Zim­babwe Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (Zec) is fac­ing se­vere re­source con­straints, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for it to ac­com­plish its man­date of map­ping bound­aries of polling sta­tions in prepa­ra­tion for the 2018 gen­eral elec­tions.

The na­tion­wide map­ping ex­er­cise within the 1 958 wards com­menced on Septem­ber 30.

It is de­signed to make it eas­ier for the com­mis­sion to count votes and do its ad­min­is­tra­tive work.

Zec chief elec­tions of­fi­cer Mrs Con­stance Chig­wamba said in­ad­e­quate re­sources and out­dated maps, among other chal­lenges were mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the com­mis­sion to ef­fec­tively carry out the ex­er­cise.

“Zec is con­strained by in­ad­e­quate re­sources, age­ing ve­hi­cles, which con­stantly break down, out­dated maps to show the gen­eral ar­eas and ab­sence of street names in ur­ban ar­eas.

“The com­mis­sion also has a small pool of tech­ni­cal ex­perts, which in­clude car­tog­ra­phers, sur­vey­ors and GIS spe­cial­ists in the var­i­ous lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. This re­sults in the teams mov­ing from one district to the other,” said Mrs Chig­wamba.

The chief elec­tions of­fi­cer said map­ping in­volves de­mar­cat­ing of polling sta­tion spe­cific ar­eas.

She added that Zec had so far man­aged to cre­ate polling sta­tion spe­cific ar­eas in 54 out of 65 dis­tricts.

“The map­ping ex­er­cise, which is con­ducted na­tion­wide by Zec com­menced on Septem­ber 30, 2016. The ex­er­cise takes cog­ni­sance of the ex­ist­ing ward bound­aries as pro­vided in the 2008 de­lim­i­ta­tion re­port.

“To date, Zec has man­aged to cre­ate polling sta­tion spe­cific ar­eas in 54 dis­tricts out of 65 dis­tricts used by Zec coun­try­wide for ad­min­is­tra­tive pur­poses,” said Mrs Chig­wamba.

The first part of the ex­er­cise, she added, is ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of this month.

“This phase pro­vides the nec­es­sary field data that de­scribes the polling sta­tion spe­cific area bound­aries to fa­cil­i­tate the de­vel­op­ment of maps,” she said.

She said af­ter the map­ping ex­er­cise, a voter will only ap­pear on one polling sta­tion within a ward.

“Polling sta­tion spe­cific voter reg­is­ters will make it easy for the com­mis­sion to do it ad­min­is­tra­tive work, since we’ll be fo­cus­ing on a de­fined num­ber of vot­ers per polling sta­tion.

“A voter will only ap­pear in one polling sta­tion within a ward. Counting of votes will be­come eas­ier and pro­vi­sion of lo­gis­tics will be en­hanced by the polling sta­tion spe­cific sys­tem.

“Sec­tion 22A of the Elec­toral Act pro­vides for the cre­ation of polling sta­tion spe­cific vot­ers’ reg­is­tra­tion at a date to be fixed by the com­mis­sion,” said Mrs Chig­wamba.

She em­pha­sised the need for map­ping, say­ing it was a pre­cur­sor to voter reg­is­tra­tion.

“The cre­ated polling sta­tion spe­cific ar­eas will form the ba­sis of al­lo­cat­ing vot­ers to their re­spec­tive polling sta­tions dur­ing voter reg­is­tra­tion in line with the com­mis­sion’s thrust of go­ing polling sta­tion spe­cific,” said Mrs Chig­wamba.

Zec is also man­dated to con­duct voter reg­is­tra­tion, ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes and elec­tions.

Dur­ing elec­tions, the fi­nan­cially con­strained com­mis­sion hires he­li­copters to reach some con­stituen­cies not ac­ces­si­ble by road.

Mrs Con­stance Chig­wamba

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.