Zimbabwe court denies opposition CCC access to final voters' roll
The Zimbabwe high court has blocked main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) from obtaining the final voters’ roll just nine days from the general election.
High court judge Never Katiyo on Monday ruled as “not urgent” an application filed by the CCC seeking the release of the final voters’ roll and the list of polling stations by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record, it is ordered that the matter is not urgent,” read the ruling by the judge.
The issue of the voters’ rolls has become a bone of contention ahead of the polls in Zimbabwe. For months, the CCC has demanded the release of the voters’ roll to be used in the election.
In July, the ZEC provided the main opposition with an electronic copy, but the opposition said it was marred by anomalies and errors.
According to court documents, the CCC wrote to the ZEC raising concerns about the anomalies on July 14, August 3, August 8 and August 10, but the electoral body did not respond.
The current ruling blocking the release of the final voters’ roll means Zimbabwe's main opposition party will enter the election without key information on the rolls and the list of polling stations.
Speaking after the ruling, Zimbabwean lawyer and opposition politician David Coltart said the country’s justice system had “plumbed new depths”.
“How can an application to obtain the final voters' roll to be used in a general election in just over a week’s time not be urgent?” asked Coltart.
The CCC said it had approached the high court seeking an urgent meeting with the judge.
“For months now, we have relentlessly demanded the immediate release of the national voters’ roll for the election. Shockingly, ZEC is shamefully hiding it, blatantly disregarding its constitutional duty to make it public. We were forced to take them to court to demand it, but the court callously dismissed it as non-urgent. We demand the immediate release of the voters’ roll,” said the CCC on its social media page.
The election takes place on Wednesday next week.