Potential voters say Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll is “ridiculously expensive,” making democracy a costly pursuit, as its lack of accessibility is likely to hinder the holding of credible elections expected in a few months.
Report by Wongai Zhangazha
An individual or organisation has to fork out about US$30 000 to get a comprehensive copy of the voters’ roll from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) as it is being sold for US$15 per ward.
Zimbabwe has 1 958 wards meaning one has to part with about US$29 370 to access the full roll.
Social and political commentators this week rejected the high cost of the voters’ roll and called for a downward review to enable easy access to the public document.
Social commentator Maxwell Saungweme described the cost as “ridiculous”.
“Selling the voters’ roll at such an exorbitant price is extremely ridiculous; more so given that the roll is produced using taxpayers’ funds,” said Saungweme.
“It’s sad that democracy has become a game of the rich elite in Zimbabwe where if one wants to be voted for they have to fork out lots of money in campaigns, including such simple but crucial processes like accessing the voters’ roll. Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu said there has always been a problem surrounding the prohibitive cost of the voters’ roll.
“My understanding is that Zec will endeavour to provide electronic copies of the voters’ roll,” said Gutu.
“This, of course, will make it cheaper for political parties and other stakeholders to access the roll. Of course once democracy is made accessible to the rich only, it becomes a bastardised version of fascism and tyranny,” he said.
MDC policy chief Qhubani Moyo said the US$30 000 price tag is “grossly unreasonable and very prohibitive”.
Efforts to get a comment from Zec vice chairperson Joyce Kazembe were fruitless as her phone was not reachable on Wednesday.