Zec pays off civil servants hired during referendum

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which struggled to raise funds for the referendum, has paid civil servants who took part in the plebiscite last month.

Report by Herbert Moyo

The civil servants were last week paid US$240 each for the six days they were engaged by Zec.
They were initially given US$60 each upon reporting for duty last month, with the outstanding balance of US$180 being cleared last week.

However, fears remain over Zec’s ability to adequately carry out all the processes necessary to hold a credible general election later this year, including voter education and voter registration, due to serious funding constraints.

Zec was forced to cancel a voter registration exercise scheduled for January after failing to secure funding from Treasury.

MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube expressed frustration at the slow pace of voter education and voter registration for the crucial polls to end the unity government, saying inadequate funding was hampering Zec from fulfilling its constitutional mandate.

“The reality is that Zec is underfunded for the work they are supposed to carry out and until that is resolved, it will be difficult to make a proper evaluation of their work,” said Dube.

“However, this is something they could exploit to cover up for their operational inefficiencies.”

Dube also lamented Zec’s refusal to heed his party’s request to introduce online voter registration.

“We wrote to them about adopting online voter registration which would be faster and easier, but they refused citing so many factors, including lack of security. However, the MDC believes such fears are unfounded as it would be possible to create adequate security systems,” he said.

“I think it is more a case of resistance to change and fear of the unknown. However, they need to come up with an expedited process that will ensure Zimbabweans are not prejudiced of their right to vote.”

Government was forced to turn to diamond mining and telecoms companies in a desperate bid to raise US$250 million needed by Zec for the referendum and general elections.

Old Mutual and the National Social Security Authority helped to raise over US$50 million for the recent referendum.

Ongoing attempts to secure election funding from the United Nations Development Programme are yet to yield anything.