Supreme Court dismisses Markham’s bid to access electronic voters roll




CCC MP Allan Makharm had sued ZEC after being denied an electronic copy of the voters roll
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HARARE – The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal lodged through the apex court by Harare North lawmaker, Allan Markham who was seeking to overturn a High Court ruling denying him access to the electronic voters roll by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

A bench, chaired by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, ruled the opposition legislator’s application had many loopholes blocking the court from hearing the matter.

This was after the opposition legislator, through his lawyer Trust Manjengwa, had brought a wrong record of proceedings to the appeal court.

“Due to the several inadequacies pronounced out, this court cannot proceed with this matter.

 

 

“There not been a proper appeal before us; it is ordered that this matter be and is hereby dismissed,” said Bhunu in a brief judgement.

ZEC lawyer Tawanda Kanengoni had complained that the transcribed record used by Markham had some missing parts.

“The court is unaware of how much information is missing from that document.

“If you take the omission that appears on page 124, it makes reference to a doctrine that relied upon by the court aquo … but not complete.

“That being the case, we would ask that this appeal is not yet properly before the court for argument and the court cannot properly engage with it based on the extempore judgement of the court aquo,” he said.

The High Court dismissed Markham’s demands for the release of electronic voters’ roll, ruling it was risky.

Markham lodged an application last year demanding ZEC to release the voters’ roll in electronic format.

He argued that ZEC was acting unconstitutionally by failing to release the electronic voters roll.

Manjengwa argued that the costs of accessing the voters’ roll in hard copy were exorbitant adding that the law provides for one to access it in any format.

ZEC pegged the price of acquiring the crucial document at more than US$140,000.

The controversial poll management authority, through Kanengoni, rejected Markham’s arguments saying it was too risky to release the electronic version of voters roll as it is susceptible to manipulation.

Kanengoni cited data analyst and electoral watchdog Team Pachedu’s tweets as ample proof that the electronic version of the voters roll could be tampered with if released, adding that ZEC has not breached its constitutional mandate as the voters’ roll could still be accessed in hard copy.

He further argued that ZEC had not refused to release the voters’ roll but was tightening its security features to prevent tampering.

In delivering his judgement, Never Katiyo said Markham approached the court prematurely as there was room for engagement.

Katiyo also added that the voters’ roll was a sensitive document to be dished out without addressing security measures. – ZimLive