10pc of voters turned away in Midlands

GWERU - In one of the most disturbing incidents, an outgoing MDC councillor in Redcliff could not vote because his name was not on the voters’ roll.

The former councillor, who refused to be named, said it was strange that after people voted him in the last election where he also cast his vote, he could not find his name on the voters’ roll this time around.

“I have no explanation to this and so are the polling officers here. Imagine the anticipation I had all this time. I have been waiting in the cold to cast my vote — and they tell me I cannot vote,” complained the councillor.

At yet another polling station, an old man, who since 7am had been waiting patiently in the long queue, is dejected as his name cannot be found on the voters’ roll.

The presiding officer — who seemed to have been trained to deal those whose names had been omitted from the roll — enquired from the old man where and when he registered. As if to help him, the presiding officer pulls out a book and writes down the old man’s details; home address, name and identification number.

“Sorry, baba, you are registered in a different ward from this one, so you need to go back to your ward where your name appears,” said the presiding officer, to the disappointment of the old man who wonders why his particulars were been recorded while he cannot vote.

In the Midlands and Insiza North, people ignored the chilly weather that had threatened voter turnout. Women with babies on their back could be seen covering themselves in blankets as they patiently waited in the open queues.

From the polling stations visited by the Daily News in Insiza North, Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Gweru, Redcliff and KweKwe, about 10 percent of eligible voters were turned away chiefly because they were in the wrong wards or were not found in the voters’ roll.

The turning away of these potential voters showed that there was a lack of voter education across the provinces.

Interestingly at most polling stations, a number of voters who had voting slips but whose names were not on the voters’ roll were made to wait while the presiding officers contacted the command centre.

After a few minutes, most of these were allowed to vote, raising fears of voter manipulation.

The voting process at visited polling stations showed order and voting was going smoothly for those who appeared in the voters’ roll.

Accredited journalists had easy access into the polling stations and figures for those who had voted.

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