THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has quarantined an estimated 92 000 irregular voters — such as those with inaccuracies or duplication — from the voters’ roll ahead of crucial polls set for July 30, the Zimbabwe Independent can reveal.
By Tinashe Kairiza
Sources privy to the developments said the election supervisory body was frantically cleaning the voters’ roll ahead of the make-or-break elections amid rising protests and pressure from opposition parties.
Opposition parties and civil society have raised concern after various irregularities were detected on the roll, raising fears the forthcoming poll was prone to manipulation and rigging.
Although the current voters’ roll is replete with flaws, the Zimbabwe Election Supervisory Network (Zesn), a civil society organisation, says the 2018 voters’ roll is markedly better than the 2013 one when former president Robert Mugabe won a massive landslide. The opposition disputed Mugabe’s controversial victory.
“The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has completed its audit of the 2018 Voters’ Roll as provided by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on the 18th of June 2018. Auditing of the 2018 Voters’ Roll is particularly important given the concerns raised about the 2013 Preliminary Voters’ Roll,” the poll watchdog said in a statement.
“Overall, Zesn finds that the 2018 voters’ roll received on the 18th of June is an improvement over the 2013 preliminary voters’ roll.”
The objective of the audit carried out by Zesn was to offer insight on the quality of the biometric roll compiled by Zec, amid concerns from opposition parties and civil society organisations that the register was fraught with numerous irregularities ranging from multiple registration and a startling under-registration of urban and young voters as well as an overwhelming proportion of rural elderly registrants. Zesn audited the voters’ roll along three parameters such as accuracy (the degree to which the voters’ roll has errors), currency (the degree to which the voters’ roll has been updated) and completeness (the magnitude to which the voters’ roll contains all eligible voters).
“In terms of accuracy, the audit did not identify anomalies in the 2018 Voters’ Roll that affected a large percentage of registrants nor were they concentrated amongst registrants of a particular area, gender or age. The 2018 Voters’ roll is more current than the 2013 Preliminary Voters’ Roll as there is a significant number of new registrants as well as more urban and young registrants and fewer extremely old registrants,” noted Zesn.
Under the completeness yardstick, Zesn noted that the 2018 register was “more inclusive than the 2013 voters’ roll”. Zesn also noted that the 2018 voters’ register was more current in comparison to the 2013 roll under the currency yardstick.