Allan Norman Markham has sued the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to get an electronic copy of the national voters roll for US$200.
Markham believes Zec’s “delaying tactics” have prevented him from obtaining a soft copy of the document, pushing him to seek court intervention.
The opposition MP argues Zec is charging too much for a hard copy of the voters roll.
Markham says Zec must provide him or any citizen a hard or soft copy of the voters roll for a price.
In his foundation affidavit, he notes that the charge for the voters’ roil varies by type.
“The physical copy costs US$200 + $1 per page for printing, totaling US$187,000.
This is much more expensive than the $200 electronic voter roll.
Markham further believes that the “electronic form is portable and can be easily analyzed; a hard copy of the national roll would be cumbersome (187k pages) and impossible to analyze.”
The respondent takes 30 days to print a hard copy for a compliant applicant.
“Even if you have the money, which is excessive and prohibitive for many individuals, including me, Respondent will print it in at least 30 days.
“Electronic copies are cheaper, easier to obtain, and easier to analyze.”
In the order sought, the legislator wants the High Court to declare that the respondent must provide the voter roll in the form requested and that the respondent’s refusal or failure to do so is unlawful.
Markham also wants the court to rule that the respondent’s hard copy of the voters roll is invalid since it’s not in conformity with Markham’s request for an electronic copy.
Zec has a week to answer.
The voters’ roll has been a hot topic in Zimbabwe’s disputed elections amid claims the Zanu PF-led administration manipulates the document to tilt the vote in its favor.
In past polls, the roll was found to contain the names of dead people who mysteriously voted in national elections, and a residential stand was used by more than a thousand registered voters, calling into question the integrity of the country’s elections, which have often been flagged as flawed by independent bodies.