Several dead people appear on Zimbabwe roll

Reading time 4 min.

Mugabe is so desperate to win on March 29 that he has
raised the dead to vote for him. A voters’ roll released Monday contains names of the dead, some born in 1900.

from our correspondent in Harare

A glance at one page of the roll yesterday for a ward in the Mount
Pleasant suburb of Harare turned up a Fodias Kunyepa, who was born in

Over the page was Rebecca Armstrong, born in the year 1900.

The government published the list of 5.6 million voters on a scanned
voters’ roll after the mainstream opposition MDC won a court victory
compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to make the voters’
register available to interested parties.

But a brief computer analysis based on the scanned voters’ roll
reveals massive discrepancies between what ZEC has declared as the
number of voters per constituency and those actually on the voters
roll, with massive variations of up to 30,8 per cent in some
constituencies such as Goromonzi South, Bulawayo Central, Gokwe
Nembudziya and Chikomba East.

Goromonzi South has a total of 19 422 on the voter’s roll which is
30.8 less than the 28 086 voters registered by ZEC.

The roll for Bulawayo contains the names of people long deceased.

And, with only two weeks before the poll, a digital copy of the
voters roll is still not ready.

“The roll is in an awful mess,” MDC elections secretary Mr Ian
Makone said. “We have already discovered several dead people on it, and that is only going from A to C in two constituencies in Bulawayo.
One of them had been dead for three years.

“Some friends of mine who have been very happily married for 30 years
find themselves in two different constituencies. One wonders if the
constituency boundary runs through the middle of their matrimonial

Mr Makone said the MDC was aware of plans to stuff ballot boxes
through postal votes in order to inflate Zanu-PF votes..

MDC (Mutambara) MP Trudy Stevenson has filed an urgent application in
the High Court seeking to compel the ZEC and the Registrar General to
provide her with a readable and proper electronic copy of the Mount
Pleasant voters’ roll.

She makes startling claims in her court application about a long dead
senior citizen appearing on her constituency’s voters’ roll.

“I have noticed that Desmond William Lardner-Burke is listed as a
voter,” Stevenson said in her court application.

“Desmond William Lardner Burke was Minister of Law and Order under
Ian Smith and I cannot believe that he is still alive and residing in
Mount Pleasant.”

Born in 1908, Lardner-Burke in fact died in South Africa years ago.

There are also wide differences between figures released by ZEC as
registered voters and the figuress appearing on the voters’ roll.

These gross errors have been unearthed in 27 constituencies and are
from only 70 constituencies reviewed so far. There are fears the
differences could be widespread.

In Gokwe Nembudziya, ZEC says there are 27,261 voters yet the names
of only 9,519 appear on the voters’ roll.

There are also massive discrepancies in Chikomba east, Bulawayo
central, Bulilima west, Chegutu east, Bubi, Gokwe, and Chipinge east,
where the differences between the ZEC figures and the numbers on the
voters roll differ by margins above 10 percent. In constituencies
such as Chiredzi, Guruve and many others, the margin of error is
below 10 percent.

ZEC spokesperson Shupikai Mashereni said the anomalies would be
investigated and rectified.

A brief computer analysis based on scanned voters’ rolls (a digital
copy has still not been made available) reveals the following massive
discrepancies between what ZEC has declared as the number of voters
per constituency and those actually on the voters roll.

These serious errors were discovered in 27 constituencies out of only
70 constituencies viewed. There are 210 constituencies altogether.

Before the last elections, in 2005, the MDC was able to get hold of CDs of the voters’ rolls for 12 constituencies, subjected them to digital analysis and found that 45 per cent of the names on the list were false.

Since then Mr Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, has kept a
tight lid on the roll.

Mrs Stevenson has been fighting to get a digital list of the roll, which
takes up five CDs. Under court orders, Mr Mudede complied.

He gave her 50 CDs of the roll – but as photographs that cannot be
digitally analysed.

Zimbabwe’s electoral law also states that the winner of the presidential
election has to have more than 50 per cent of the vote.

The provision took on dramatic importance when Simba Makoni, Mr
Mugabe’s former Finance Minister, joined Morgan Tsvangirai, the
opposition leader, last month in challenging Mr Mugabe.

Analysts say that in the event that Mr Mugabe wins less than 50 per
cent – and he got only 54 per cent in the last presidential election
in 2002 – an alliance between the two opposition candidates would
almost certainly beat him.

However, the Act also states that the one who gets a simple majority is to be declared the winner. “If it turns out he doesn’t get over 50 per cent, there’s no guessing which alternative he will choose,” one lawyer said.

Analytical Table of Error of Zimbabwe Voters’ List

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