UNDERFIRE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s integrity has once again come under scrutiny following anomalies picked during capturing of personal details for new voters in the ongoing voter registration blitz.
Chinhoyi Residents Trust (CRT) has since written to the country’s elections management body demanding the ward boundary map.
This followed at least six cases in which new voters and those seeking transfers were wrongly placed in certain wards, thereby presenting possibilities they could be disenfranchised come polling day if they presented themselves at wrong polling stations.
CRT coordinator, Peter Liwanda wrote the letter of demand dated February 17, 2022, and addressed to ZEC’s district elections officer.
Lawanda said: “It has come to our attention that there is inaccurate placing of newly registered voters in wards that they are not resident in. Specific cases include: Tanaka Mukandawire of Chikonohono being placed at Chikonohono Primary ‘B’ polling station in Ward 6 whilst Mairos Muunze and Zorodzai Muunze who are resident at the same address vote at Pfungwa Dzakanaka polling station in Ward 5.”
Liwanda also cited other cases, including that of Clayton Chitayi of Chikonohono who was erroneously put at Chikonohono Primary ‘B’ polling station in Ward 6 whilst his neighbours, Isaac Chikwasha and Sibongile Tuturu were registered to cast votes at Pfungwa Dzakanaka polling station in Ward 5.
Liwanda further stated: “lt is against that background that CRT requests that your office makes available the map of Chinhoyi ward boundaries that you are currently using during the registration blitz exercise in the public’s interests of transparency and openness.”
ZEC has in recent weeks come under a barrage of criticism from various quarters, including civic society organisations (CSOs) involved in voter education and registration mobilisation.
The statutory elections body is accused of tampering with the voters’ roll, illegally transferring voters, low numbers of new entries on the roll due to lack of identity documents (IDs), among other irregularities, allegedly designed to rig upcoming by-elections and the 2023 harmonised plebiscites.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) recently challenged ZEC over its “ill-timed” registration blitz, arguing potential voters were being turned away for lack of IDs.
ZEC had announced that the mobile voter registration process would take place from December 6, 2021 but postponed it to February 2022 to allow eligible persons to acquire IDs that are requisite for voter registration.
Many aspiring voter registrants are being turned away over lack of IDs, hence stakeholders questioning why ZEC has started the registration blitz in the first place.