Worry over voters' roll tampering

HARARE – Zimbabwe needs an accurate and up-to-date voters’ register to democratise the forthcoming election, the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) has said.

Phillip Pasirayi, the CCDZ director, said before elections are held, State authorities should ensure that there is a clean voters’ roll to allow all eligible voters to fully participate in the elections.

“Unfortunately, the current voters’ roll is in shambles and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently admitted that the voters’ register is in a bad state,” Pasirayi said.

“We are worried about the reports of tampering with the voters’ roll by some players in the inclusive government. We reiterate our calls that Zec must be fully in charge of all electoral issues, including the compilation of the voters’ roll.

“CCDZ and other civil society organisations have unearthed various anomalies in the on-going voter registration process including the politicisation of the whole exercise. In some areas, CCDZ witnessed deliberate efforts to disenfranchise some citizens because of their political affiliation.”

He said in rural areas some traditional leaders are denying known MDC activists proof of residence to register as voters while those believed to be Zanu PF supporters are being registered without any hassles.

“Although the proof of registration requirement has been waived, we still believe that many people have been unfairly treated by partisan traditional leaders,” he said. “The on-going voter registration exercise must be insulated from party politics.

“In some areas, CCDZ volunteers witnessed people being assisted to register as voters at some centres by politicians and war veterans.”

He said in Midlands at Zalova Farm, some war veterans ferried voters who went straight in front of the queue and were assisted without producing any proof of residence or completing the affidavit forms.

There are some instances where some headman (traditional leaders) brought villagers to registration centres and simply said: “Ndauya nevanhu vangu kuzonyoresa (I have come with my people to have them registered).”

He added that the Sadc and African Union (AU) guidelines governing conduct of democratic elections recognise the importance of voter registration in the electoral process.

“The Sadc guidelines underscore the need for transparency in all electoral matters including voter registration. We reiterate our calls for government to urgently put in place mechanisms to ensure that all eligible voters are registered including the so-called ‘aliens’ who continue to be turned down in some areas.”

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