PRINTING of ballot papers that will be used during the August 23 harmonised polls has commenced, but the process is being delayed by election-related cases that are before the courts.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chief elections officer Mr Utloile Silaigwana said some of the cases have a bearing on the final list of candidates who will be on the ballot.
“The process of printing ballot papers has started,” he said.
“However, a few hitches have been experienced owing to appeals before the courts arising from the June 21 nomination process and outcome.”
The commission, he said, was close to finalising processing applications for postal voting from members of the uniformed forces, as well as election officials intending to cast their votes ahead of polling day when they will be on official duty.
“The commission is still processing the 18 013 applications for postal votes.
“So far, it has found that more than 380 of these applicants are not on the voters’ roll, hence they are not eligible for voting.
“As soon as the verification exercise is complete, successful applicants will receive their requisite materials.
“The process has been partially hamstrung by nomination appeals, which are yet to be determined by the courts. These have a bearing on printing of ballot papers.”
On Wednesday last week, United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) leader Mrs Elisabeth Valerio won her appeal against ZEC’s rejection of her
nomination papers and has since been added to the list of candidates contesting the presidential election.
The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) is suing 41 National Assembly and local authority candidates who filed nomination papers under the party’s name.
The party wants the candidates to be removed from the final list of candidates.
The Electoral Court is also dealing with an application seeking to have CCC National Assembly candidates in Bulawayo disqualified for allegedly filing their nomination papers out of time.
Independent presidential candidate Mr Saviour Kasukuwere has an application before the Supreme Court seeking nullification of a recent High Court ruling barring him from contesting the polls.
Chiefs Council elections
Meanwhile, ZEC says it is ready for the Provincial Council of Chiefs elections scheduled for Thursday next week.
A committee comprising representatives from the commission and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works has since been set up to supervise the polls.
Said Mr Silaigwana: “The commission is currently busy with preparations for election of chiefs to the Provincial Council of Chiefs for the eight non-metropolitan provinces.
“The elections will be presided over by provincial elections officers of the eight non-metropolitan provinces.”
He said the provincial election officers completed a two-day training exercise yesterday.
“The provincial assemblies of chiefs will meet on August 3, 2023 to elect members to their respective Provincial Council of Chiefs.
“The combined Provincial Councils of Chiefs become the National Council of Chiefs or simply the Council of Chiefs.”
In total, he said, 36 chiefs will be elected into the council.
“The commission has already prepared the ballot paper for the election.
“It is important to note that the ballot paper is blank since the commission does not know the names of chiefs who will be nominated for election on August 3.
“On election day, the chiefs assemble at the designated provincial centres and nominate preferred candidates.
“If a candidate is nominated and is uncontested, he or she becomes duly elected.
“If many candidates are nominated at once, the law allows for an adjournment of a maximum of three hours to allow the chiefs to campaign before an election is conducted through secret ballot to determine the winner.”
This process, he added, is repeated until all the required members of the Provincial Council of Chiefs have been elected. – Sunday Mail