HARARE, (Xinhua) — The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on Wednesday condemned people who were demanding to see the serial numbers of voter registration slips from people who would have registered under the on-going biometric voter registration exercise.
Several opposition parties and civic organizations had complained that some people were forcing the registrants to show them the serial numbers of their registration slips, with fingers pointing to the ruling Zanu-PF party.
In a statement, ZEC acting chairperson Emmanuel Magade said the serial numbers and barcodes on the registration slips were only unique security identifiers used by the commission to internally validate the slips’ authenticity.
“However, the commission has received reports that there are individuals forcibly demanding voter registration slips or details thereof such as serial numbers from registrants which action is tantamount to intimidation. This is contrary to the provisions of both the constitution and the Electoral Act,” he said.
He said following numerous complaints and reports concerning the collection of serial numbers of some registrants’ voter registration slips by certain individuals, ZEC wished to state that the slips issued were only to confirm the successful registration status of a voter.
“The slips are personal and confidential to the registrant and not anyone else,” he said.
Civic organizations had recently complained about ZEC’s failure to effectively act and address challenges that were being faced during registration, including the demands for registration slips.
They accused traditional leaders and Zanu-PF members of demanding the registration slips and urged ZEC to instruct the police to offenders and direct political parties and individuals responsible for harassment and intimidation of would-be voters to stop.
ZEC has so far registered about 5.1 million voters ahead of elections scheduled for June/July this year, as it targets to reach 5.5 million in an on-going mop up exercise ending Feb. 8.
The commission is using the biometric voter registration system for the first time and eligible Zimbabweans must register afresh to participate in the polls.