As the nation gears for polls, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says it is yet to design the presidential ballot paper due to legal challenges against the ‘rejection’ of some candidates’ nomination papers.

Apparently, presidential candidate and former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere has appealed to the Supreme Court after the High Court ruled against his candidature on account that he is residing in the country.

His challenge blocks the designing of the presidential ballot paper until the superior court rules in his favor or against him and ZEC has to wait for the court outcome.

ZEC vice chairperson Ambassador Rodney Kiwa told The Herald that the printing of ballot papers has commenced, but the only drawback is that in some constituencies there were appeals against the rejection or acceptance of candidates’ papers.

However, Amb Kiwa said they were hopeful that the legal matters would be settled soon.

“Procurement of essential election material for the harmonised elections is at around 80 percent with the rest in progress. Section 239(g) of the Constitution gives the Commission the mandate to design, print and distribute ballot papers, among other functions.

“The Commission has commenced the exercise of designing the ballot papers for all contested National Assembly constituencies and local authority wards as well as the Presidential Ballot.

“The drawback, however, as you may appreciate, is the designing of the ballot papers for those constituencies where an appeal has been lodged against the rejection or acceptance of a prospective candidate’s papers.

“The Commission hopes that this legal challenge will be concluded soon to allow it to conclusively deal with the design thereof,” he said.

ZEC, said Amb Kiwa, would reveal the names of where and who was printing the ballot papers, as well as the total number printed in due course.

“Regarding the printing of ballot papers, the Commission will in due course and in line with provisions of Section 52A of the Electoral Act inform the general public and other stakeholders of where and by whom the ballot papers for the election are being printed as well as the total number of ballot papers that have been printed in respect of each election,” he said.

Amb Kiwa said the electoral body would publish the final list of polling stations through the media, 21 days before polling day and on the day of the election.

“The Commission has established 11 501 polling stations throughout the country. Please note that some of these polling stations are composite hence they may be split to maintain the 1000 voter population threshold.

“The final list of polling stations will be published in the press 21 days before polling and on Election Day. These stations were established in terms of Section 51 of the Electoral Act, which provides that the Commission should establish polling stations at places it finds suitable and convenient to voters.

“The law compels the Commission to establish adequate polling stations in each of the country’s 1 970 wards with each polling station being located at a place that is readily accessible to the public, including persons with physical disabilities,” he said.

According to its elections calendar, ZEC will next month publish polling stations, conduct elections for the National Council of Chiefs and elect its president and deputy president, close receipt of postal vote ballots and hold its second observers’ briefing.

August 16 will see the dispatch of postal votes to constituencies and will be the last day for the submission of names of roving agents.

August 18 will be the day printed ballot papers will be published with the closure of receipt of applications for observer accreditation on the following day.

The electoral body last week closed its receipt of postal vote applications and held its first observers briefing.