17 September 2008
We are now ready - Gija
By Ackel Zwane
ALL preparations and logistics for the secondary elections on Friday have been collected, the Elections and Boundary Commission has announced.
Speaking at stakeholders meeting organised by the Southern African Development Community Observer Mission through the Electoral Commission's Forum yesterday, Chief Gija said ballot papers were ready from as early as last Friday and were now waiting to be dispatched to the various polling centres on the eve of the election.
He also announced that the printing of the voters roll was done in-house. Similarly the ballot boxes were also ready for dispatch.
The EBC chief also announced that this time around the voter's roll to be distributed to the polling centres shall bear the names of voters for that particular area in order to prevent double voting.
He said previously a list for the entire region was distributed but this made the electoral process vulnerable to double voting. However there is a national voters register for all eligible voters.
"The voters roll shows the name of the voter, the picture, and the identity number. The voter is required to present the voter card with all the details.
These details are checked against the voters roll. This process allows for double checking in order to avoid cheating," Chief Gija told SADC observers and stakeholders from civic society.
342 polling stations
THE EBC was following the SADC principle to ensure that voters do not travel long distances.
Out of the 55 tinkhundla centres there was need to establish 342 centres to guarantee that people had access to the polling station.
"By the same token we eliminate the covert need for transport," said Mzwandile Fakudze, the EBC Deputy Chairman.
The EBC has acknowledged that there were glitches experienced from the nominations stage through the primary.
This was more-so because of the high turnout at the polls.
As a result they had to apply for the extension of the primary elections by one day.
"During the primary election there was a high turnout and the process became slower in that it was arduous when polling officers had to cross check the voter identities with the roll.
Under the circumstance the EBC ran out of time.
Chief Gija also announced that there was need to increase the size of personnel and recruitment was already completed.
He said the number of poling booths was also increased with a view to prevent long queues.
"The lines or booths are designed in alphabetical order to take in surnames of a range of letters, say from A - F.
This method has already been tested at Lomahasha where there was a re-run. Over 3000 voters were processed by 1:30pm," he said.
Polling stations open at 7am and close at 6pm. On the eve of the election the Returning, Presiding and Polling officer shall set up the centres of the eve of the election.
Counting at constituency centres
Counting shall take place not at the micro polling stations but at the designated centres. It will start at 8am the following day, September 20.
Chief Gija announced that the counting is designed in such a way that counting will be done per chiefdom under each constituency.
The final results shall therefore reflect all the other centres under each chief.