THE Registrar-General’s office is still registering voters more than a month after the closure of the current registration exercise, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
The registration exercise is in full swing in some areas, especially in Norton where people are being bussed in from informal settlements such as Tongogara, just outside Harare along the Bulawayo Road.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede said voter registration was a continuous exercise. He said the people being registered would not vote next week since registration closed on February 4.
“Those who registered after that date will not be entitled to vote as their names will not appear on the voters roll for the March 31 parliamentary general election,” he said.
There are claims that Zanu PF supporters are being given confirmation letters by either party candidate Patrick Zhuwawo or by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo which they take to the Chegutu district office, or sub-office in Norton, for registration.
Neither Zhuwawo nor Chombo could be reached for comment.
A copy of a Certificate of Registration as a voter in the possession of the Zimbabwe Independent shows that a person (name provided) registered on March 17 has a certificate written “Closing date was 4/2/05”.
Harare Central independent candidate Margaret Dongo claims the people being registered will be included on the supplementary voters roll which is yet to be made public. Dongo alleges the Registrar-General deliberately delayed issuing the supplementary roll to accommodate these new voters.
“The idea of delaying the supplementary roll is to accommodate these new entrants. They will use the supplementary voters roll for rigging. It’s disappointing,” said Dongo.
Dongo in 1995 won the Harare South seat as an independent candidate in a re-run against Vivian Mwashita of Zanu PF after a court ruled the first poll had been rigged.
Dongo argues that if only one polling agent per candidate is allowed in the polling station, it will be difficult for opposition candidates’ agents to oversee the process, in particular when each voter has been registered.
“There will be three lines at the polling station, A-L, M and N-Z, and this will make it difficult for one polling agent to monitor all the developments in the polling station,” Dongo said.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change and independent candidates have complained about the state of the voters’ roll.
MDC secretary for legal affairs David Coltart in an interview said any person registering after the closure of the registration exercise is in breach of the Electoral Act.
“There will be all sorts of tricks in this election if the past election is anything to go by,” he said. “These problems will always be there so long as there is no independent electoral body running the elections.”
A voters’ roll audit conducted last month unearthed hundreds of ghost voters, with some entered more than once. There are also incomplete addresses and dubious entries.