MDC confronts Zec over voters’ roll

By BLESSED MHLANGA

THE opposition MDC has accused the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) of tinkering with the voters’ roll during by-elections, leading to many voters being disenfranchised.

In a letter of complaint dated September 3 addressed to Zec, MDC secretary-general Charlton Hwende demanded an explanation into movements the party has recorded in the voters’ roll, which saw some of its members being
removed from the roll or transferred to other polling stations without being notified.

“The MDC has noted a disturbing trend in changes to the voters’ roll that will potentially perpetuate the disenfranchisement of legitimate voters in areas where there are by-elections,” Hwende wrote.

“A comparative analysis of the current by-elections voters’ rolls given to MDC candidates and the voters’ rolls used in the 2018 general elections reveals a significant pattern in variations which require clarity
from your organisation at the highest level.”

In its complaint, the MDC outlined problems in the Lupane East and Mangwe constituencies by-elections, where the MDC alleges that a total of 231 voters were allegedly de-registered.

“A total of 111 and 120 registered voters were de-registered from the 2019 voters’ rolls of Lupane East and Mangwe constituencies, respectively. Although the MDC appreciates that this could have been a result of a
voters’ roll cleaning exercise, however, some individuals were absent in the 2019 voters’ roll, but appeared in the 2018 roll,” the letter read.

Hwende listed three names of voters removed from the roll who failed to vote in the recently held Lupane East ward 12 by-election.

“A case in point relates to the following two relatives and a neighbour who were all registered at Gomaza Primary School in Lupane East constituency ward 12, who voted in the 2018 harmonised elections, but failed
to vote in the by-elections. These are Patricia Zama, Matwasa Zama and Anthony Sibanda,” he said.

Turning to Glen View South, where the MDC is fighting to retain the parliamentary seat, Hwende said there were a lot of variations in the voters’ roll which needed explanation.

“There are highly notable instances of registered voters being moved from polling stations they used in the 2018 elections to others without prior notifications, hence potentially disfranchising them on the day of
polling,” Hwende said.

The MDC has always accused Zec of fiddling with the voters’ roll in an attempt to manipulate the elections, allegations the electoral managing body has denied.

Zec chief executive Utoile Silaigwana was not answering his phone yesterday.

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