Justice Chigumba, Chair of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

At a press conference this morning, Justice Chigumba, Chair of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, confirmed what we told you yesterday, that ZEC's official position is that the voters roll that has been given to the public is the final voters' roll which includes the voters who registered during the verification period.

The ZEC Chair says this puts paid to any claims that the voters' roll is fake.

The information puts the MDC Alliance at a loss, primarily because they have no way to verify this and have to wait until voting day itself to see if there are any people in any ward who will vote but do not appear on the voters' roll supplied to candidates and the public.

The objective of stopping anyone from pulling a move to delay or stop the election using discrepancies in the voters' roll has now been frustrated and neutralised.

A court judgement is in place regarding the provisional voters roll. The courts ordered ZEC to release it. It boggles the mind, therefore, why, if the MDC Alliance, the only party making noise about the Voters Roll, thinks this has not been done, they have not gone back to the courts to say ZEC is in contempt.

The noises outside the court and legal system gives credence to the claims of grandstanding. Clearly, the courts, from what we can all see, have demonstrated that if approached with an argument that has merit, they will rule against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. They have already done so.

The Mugabe-era claim that the courts will side with the system, therefore, has already been proved wrong. So why continue making press and social media statements without going back to the courts while there is still time.

I refer you back to my post from yesterday: the objective is not to get justice, it is to either stop the election or cause enough doubt to be cast on those elections to make the likelihood of a GNU much higher after July 30.

Another development from today press conference: After publishing a press statement over the weekend saying they were willing to supply PDF copies of the Voters' Roll to anyone who brings their own external hard drive, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission today reversed that decision, citing legal advice.

The Chair Commission, Justice Chigumba, specifically cited social media posts, which she said they became aware of over the weekend, as one of the main reasons for the reversal.

Her statement appears to refer to a social media post by Chalton Hwende, the Nelson Chamisa MDC-T faction's Deputy Treasurer General, in which he said they would like the photos so that they could go door to door to verify the existence of the roll.

Behind the scenes, information that the release of the roll in the photographic format was going to be used to launch a breach of privacy lawsuit was also discussed yesterday. ZEC lawyers took the advisory position that it would risk the election to go ahead with the photo-based roll, in case it was challenged and the challenge was successful. This could achieve the objective of delaying or even scuppering the elections.

The lawyers further advised that it was better to wait for the parties wanting this type of roll to launch a court case if they so wished or thought that the refusal to supply was against the law. Should they win at the courts, ZEC would then be able to release this roll without fearing a lawsuit. This is because ZEC would defend the against the lawsuit by citing right to privacy. Should the courts rule against that defense, the likelihood of anyone else suing ZEC for releasing this type of roll on right to privacy grounds would then become moot.

It is rather surprising that at the daily briefing at which the Chair made this announcement, not a single journalist came forward to ask about the statement that ZEC issued over the weekend. It is an indication of the depths to which journalism has sunk in this country that such a obvious and glaring reversal was not even questioned, even when the room was opened to questions.

The chair was almost begging for questions from the floor, but there was nothing of substance coming.

This, unfortunately, is part of the reason why ZANU PF has been able to set the agenda in the country, dictating by default not only the tone, but also the content of national discourse.


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