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2023 elections cost US$116m


2023 elections cost US$116m



ZIMBABWE’S 2023 general elections are expected to gobble up ZW$76 billion (US$116 million).


The country will hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections simultaneously, most likely on a date in July or August according to estimates by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube set aside the amount when he presented the 2023 national budget in Parliament last week.

“The country will hold harmonised elections in 2023, as enshrined in the constitution. The preparations have already commenced, which include the delimitation exercise, voter registration and voter’s role inspection,” Ncube said.

“The 2023 National Budget is setting aside resources to cover voter registration ZW$12 billion, voter inspection ZW$11 billion and actual election conduct ZW$53 billion, among others.”

Zanu PF insiders last month told The NewsHawks that President Emmerson Mnangagwa wanted elections as soon as they are constitutionally due.

Zec in October advised that the election is likely to be held in July or August, while announcing the suspension of National Assembly and local authority by-elections for vacancies that would occur with effect from 1 November, pending the conduct of the general elections.

“Section 158(3) of the constitution provides that polling in by-elections shall take place within ninety days of the vacancies occurring unless the vacancies occur within nine months before a general election is due to be held. The last general election held in 2018 was held on the 31st July 2018,” Zec said.

“It is therefore anticipated from a reading of section 158(3) of the constitution that general elections will be held on a date to be set during the month of either July or August 2023.

“Members of the public are thus notified that the filling of vacancies that occur on or after the 1st of November 2022 will be suspended pending the conduct of the 2023 general elections.”

The poll preparations are taking place at a time Zimbabwe’s main opposition party CCC, and some civil society organisations have expressed concern over Zec’s failure to avail the physical copy of the voters’ roll at a reasonable price. Zec is charging US$187 000 for persons or institutions to access the voters’ roll.

There are concerns that the voters roll is in shambles amid revelations that in many cases people with identical names and identity numbers are registered in different constituencies, while in many cases an unusually high number of people are sharing one address.

In some cases, large numbers of people are registered at commercial premises, which do not provide accommodation at all.

Some of the anomalies in the voters’ roll have been exposed by Team Pachedu an online based group trying to promulgate a culture of transparency, responsibility and accountability.
CCC has repeatedly demanded an independent audit of the voters roll after several anomalies were unearthed.

Last month, the Election Resource Centre (ERC) took Zec to court in a bid to force the elections management body to review its exorbitant fees for accessing a physical copy of the voters’ roll.

Zec said it will not avail the voters roll through a portable electronic mode to protect it from possible tampering.

“The cost of the voters roll is ridiculous, unjustified and unreasonable. ERC with the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has initiated litigation,” the ERC’s Takunda Tsunga said ahead of the court action.

Zec has activated statutory instrument 145 of 2022 which states that “a hard copy of a monochrome copy of the voters roll shall be one United States dollars per page of the national voters roll.”

In 2018, the Lovemore Madhuku-led opposition National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) petitioned the courts seeking an order compelling the Zec to avail a copy of the voters’ roll.
The NCA said it intended to field candidates to contest the 2018 elections but could not go ahead without a copy of the voters’ roll to ensure the candidates were nominated by registered voters as required by the Electoral Act.

The party said in terms of section 21(4) of the Electoral Act it was entitled to have access to a copy of every voters’ roll to be used in the election, either in printed form or in electronic form.

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