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Voters find their names missing from roll ahead of Zimbabwe election

The inspection of rolls has been marred by anomalies such as voters' names missing or voters not listed in their constituencies.
The inspection of rolls has been marred by anomalies such as voters' names missing or voters not listed in their constituencies.
Image: Lawrence Chimunhu

Some Zimbabwean voters who had previously registered have found their names missing from the voters’ rolls. This comes after Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) opened the voters’ roll to be used for the 2023 election for public inspection.

The ZEC announced the voters’ roll will be open for inspection for five days. This was supposed to end today but has been extended until tomorrow.

The electoral body said voters could go to the polling stations where they were registered to inspect the rolls physically. Alternatively, voters could use their mobile phones to inspect the rolls.

The inspection of rolls has been marred by anomalies such as voters' names missing or voters not listed in their constituencies.

The main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vice-president Welshman Ncube said his name was not on the roll.

“I went to check my name at the Burnside polling station where I always vote. I am not on that roll. I checked on the ZEC electronic roll and their system says my details cannot be found. This is in spite of the fact that when I last checked last month my name was there,” said Ncube.

CCC MP for Bulawayo Central Nicola Watson said her name was also not on the rolls.

The opposition and electoral watchdogs said the anomalies and mistakes in the rolls could negatively impact the general election in August.

The CCC wrote to the ZEC requesting an investigation into anomalies found in the rolls.

“We have noted serious anomalies in the voters’ roll laid out for inspection by the public. Registered voters who have been appearing on the biometric voters' roll online inspection platform are suddenly missing from the current online platforms and the voters roll under inspection seems not to be synchronised with the new delimitation boundaries. Resultantly, prospective voters have been displaced from their wards of residence,” read part of the letter.

Zimbabwean lawyer and opposition politician David Coltart said it took him two days to find his name in the ZEC data base, but his name is not appearing at any polling station in his Bulawayo constituency.

“After almost two days of persistent searching I’ve finally established I’m still on the ZEC data base even if my name doesn’t appear at any polling station. I remain with the concern that my name may be removed and the only evidence I have of registration is the mobile phone screenshot that says I am registered at Hillside Bowling Club, where I am not in fact registered. In all my 40 years since returning to Zimbabwe I have never seen such chaos. I have the means to take time off work and drive around Bulawayo, but what about poor people who don’t have transport? This is utterly shameful and the ZEC should be reconstituted,” said Coltart.

The electoral body said it will rectify the anomalies in the voters’ roll, the state-owned The Herald newspaper reported, citing ZEC chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana.

“Why does the ZEC take the voters’ roll to the people? It is because we want the voters themselves who are the owners of the voters’ roll to audit the roll by checking their names and their details. They should check whether they are placed in the correct polling station, ward and constituency. In the event there are anomalies detected by the voters, the ZEC will ensure they are corrected,” said Silaigwana.



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