HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Political temperatures are hotting up as
Zimbabweans brace for elections slated for 2018 with hardly a
day passing without political parties and ordinary citizens
talking about the much anticipated polls.
organizations are referring to the elections as “watershed” in
the hope that they will offer a turning point to the country’s
political landscape, but preparations are still in their infancy
as voter registration is yet to begin.
Zimbabwe will for
the first time in history use biometric voter registration (BVR)
for elections as it seeks to improve transparency and eliminate
multiple registrations of the same people on the voters roll.
Unlike in previous
registrations where voters were only required to provide their
identity cards and proof of residence at polling stations, the
new exercise will require verification of finger prints and
The BVR kit, to be
supplied by Chinese company Laxton Group, and is expected in the
country by the end of August.
Electoral Commission said recently that it anticipated about 7
million people to register to vote and this week said it needed
274 million U.S. dollars to successfully steer the elections.
With the last
elections in 2013 having been conducted on July 31, the 2018
elections are also expected to be held around the same time in
line with the Constitution.
Veritas, a local
organization that provides information on the work of Parliament
and the laws of the country, said in its latest bulletin that
according to the Constitution and the Electoral Act, polling
days must fall within the 30-day period of July 23 to August 21.
It said suggestions
that the president had a prerogative to choose any date in 2018
for elections and for gazetting his proclamation were not
correct because the law no longer allowed him to do so.
“The president no
longer has the discretion he previously enjoyed to force an
early election on the country by dissolving Parliament.
“That may have been
the case under the former Constitution, but it is clearly not
possible under the present Constitution,” Veritas said.
It said however that
only Parliament could force an early election by either refusing
to pass an annual budget or passing resolutions in both Senate
and the National Assembly to dissolve Parliament, for which
two-thirds majorities were required, or passing a vote of no
confidence in the Government.
If President Robert
Mugabe’s ruling party Zanu-PF is determined to have early
elections held, it may use its two-thirds majority in Parliament
to refuse to pass the 2018 budget.
Mugabe is already on
a whirlwind tour of the country holding campaign rallies which
are being termed youth interface meetings attended by thousands
of supporters and school children.
On their part,
opposition parties have also been holding meetings with their
supporters, although not at the magnitude of Zanu-PF, but with
their preoccupation being the formation of a grand coalition to
fight the elections on a united front in a bid to topple Mugabe.
However, there are
many fissures within the opposition outfit as they subtly haggle
over who should lead the coalition.
trump card appears to be Mugabe’s perceived failure to create
within five years the more than 2 million jobs his party
promised ahead of the 2013 elections, the continued
deterioration of infrastructure and social services and the
severe cash shortages affecting most citizens.
Mugabe said recently
that people should create their own jobs instead of waiting to
Zanu-PF Member of
Parliament for Highfield West in Harare Psychology Maziwisa said
the party had not promised to create formal jobs and had in fact
surpassed the 2.2 million mark since many people had gone into
The police have said
they are ready for the elections and will ensure that there is
no political violence accompanying them.
Elections have been
marred by violence since 2000 with MDC-T leader Morgan
Tsvangirai pulling out of the 2008 presidential run-off alleging
that his supporters were being assaulted by Mugabe’s supporters.
Street hawker Petros
Njani said the next elections should be about food on the table
and whoever promised a better future for the people would win.
“The truth is that
many people are not happy at the moment. We are all low because
we are not getting all the services that we should be getting.
Drugs are short in hospitals; our roads are in a sorry state and
we cannot withdraw our money from the banks.
“The opposition says
that all our problems are there because Mugabe has failed to
lead and Zanu-PF blames all this on what it says are economic
sanctions imposed on the country at the behest of opposition
parties. What we need now is for us to reclaim our future and
build our children’s future. I hope the best party will win,” he
said without indicating which party he would vote for.
Both the ruling
party and the opposition are targeting the youth’s votes, with
the opposition also seeking to make inroads into rural areas
which have hitherto remained Zanu-PF strongholds.
Zimbabwe says requires 274 mln
USD for 2018 elections
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said Tuesday it
requires 274 million U.S. dollars to conduct national elections
set for mid 2018.
The electoral body
has begun preparations for next year’s polls with voter
registration expected to start soon and end in December.
budget requirement has since been submitted to Treasury for
funding in the sum of 274 million dollars,” ZEC chairperson Rita
Makarau told a parliamentary committee.
Makarau said the
funding will enable ZEC to procure all election materials
necessary and to pay all allowances necessary to ensure a
successful voter registration exercise as well as free and fair
She urged political
parties and civic organizations to start voter education,
indicating that ZEC’s constitutionally mandated voter education
was due to begin soon.
Zimbabwe will use
the biometric voter registration system for the first time to
compile a new voters’ roll ahead of the polls.
The system entails
the use of unique individual identification techniques such as
fingerprints and iris to identify voters. Previously, voters
only used their national identification documents to register.
ZEC has said it is
targeting to register 7 million voters for the 2018 polls, up
from 6.8 million that were registered in the previous 2013
Robert Mugabe has since been endorsed by his ruling ZANU-PF
party as its presidential candidate for next year’s polls, when
he will be 94.
Zimbabwe’s electoral body says
ready for 2018 polls
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe’s electoral body said Tuesday it is well
prepared to hold elections set for mid 2018 and voter education
is due to start soon.
Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau told a parliamentary
committee that it will soon start countrywide voter education
which will pave way for biometric voter registration exercise to
be completed by December.
“We must complete
voter registration by December 2017 for us to be able to hold
elections on any date in 2018. It is the prerogative of the
president to call for an election date but we stand ready to
hold the elections,” Makarau said.
She appealed to
political parties that will contest in next year’s polls as well
as civil society organizations to start voter education now to
give ample time for people to be educated about the requirements
Makarau said ZEC had
submitted an election budget to Treasury which they were hopeful
will be fully funded.
“It’s a frightening
figure but elections don’t come cheap and we hope the money we
have asked for will be released. Government has not failed us in
the past and we don’t believe funding will be a challenge for
the 2018 elections,” she said.
The ZEC chairperson
said Zimbabweans with national identity documents showing that
they are aliens should regularize their citizenship to ensure
that they will be able to vote in next year’s elections.
Zimbabweans born in
Zimbabwe but with parents of foreign origin, regarded as aliens,
have previously been denied the right to vote, a development
that has largely been criticized by the opposition for
disenfranchising many prospective voters.
Makarau said the
electoral body was targeting to register 7 million voters for
next year’s polls, up from 6.8 million registered in the
previous 2013 elections.
appealed to political parties to shun violence and ensure a
Parties should also
ensure the political environment is friendly to women and
children, she said.
“As ZEC it will
really be a sad day for us if at all there is going to be
political violence in the run up, during and after elections. We
call upon political parties to shun violence as a tool of
campaigning and winning the hearts of prospective voters,” she
Makarau said ZEC
would set up mechanisms to prevent and deal with politically
motivated violence during the election period.
ZEC was also working
with several women rights organizations to ensure more women
contested in next year’s polls, Makarau said.
She also urged
parliamentarians to lobby for legislation guaranteeing equal
representation of women in the National Assembly, made up of 210
Out of the 350
members in Zimbabwe’s Parliament, only 125 are women,
constituting 34 percent. This is the highest ever number of
women parliamentarians that Zimbabwe has had since independence
Zimbabwe is for the
first time using the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system,
which entails use of unique individual identification techniques
such as fingerprints and irises to identify voters. Previously,
voters just used their national identification documents to
Makarau said the
electoral body had already paid 50 percent deposit to equipment
provider, Laxton Group of China and was now awaiting delivery of
3,000 BVR kits.
Robert Mugabe has been endorsed by his ruling ZANU-PF party as
its presidential candidate for next year’s polls, when he will