THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday said it had picked up over 180 000 errors on the voters roll as of June 23, a figure election watchdogs said was too huge and could have a strong bearing on the outcome of next year’s elections.
Zec spokesperson Jasper Mangwana told a Press conference in Harare yesterday that the commission has been making changes to the voters roll in compliance with section 35 of the Electoral Act.
“The commission continues to clean the voters roll because it is a fluid document. It continues to change. The voters roll alterations that have been gazetted and effected, so far, as from June 23, 2022 is a total of 186 220 errors,” Mangwana said.
“Majority of the errors include full stop, where there should not be a full stop, omissions, in terms of the names of the chief of that area. From November 21 up to date, the commission has gazetted a total of 96 284 deceased voters that have been removed from the voters roll. The public must expect more because these figures continue to come every day.”
Electoral watchdogs, however, said it was crucial for the electoral management body to minimise errors to avoid cases where registered voters failed to cast their votes in the 2023 elections.
“The errors have a direct impact on Zec’s credibility,” Electoral Resource Centre programmes manager Solomon Bobosibunu said.
“These are administrative issues that must be very minimal, especially when the system is now computerised. Why those errors in the first place? It’s high time the electoral body makes use of technology for accurate data capturing.”
Zimbabwe Election Advocacy Trust national co-ordinator Robson Chikwinya said the number of the detected errors was suspiciously “too big”.
“It is an issue of concern for errors to be detected on the voters roll as this can go a long way to influence the outcome of the upcoming elections,” Chikwinya said.
Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network chairperson Andrew Makoni urged Zimbabweans to inspect the voters roll to avoid inconveniences on polling day.
“It is critical for the people to check the voters roll. Errors are unavoidable, but they must be minimised. Citizens must go and inspect the voters roll and ensure that all their details are captured correctly,” Makoni said.
Mangwana also announced that the Treasury had released US$83 million for the delimitation exercise, which starts tomorrow, with US$45 million set aside for the voter inspection process.
“We also have US$38 million for the delimitation exercise and the budget will cater for the printing of the voters roll, hiring of vehicles, stakeholder engagement that has been happening and will continue to happen, material acquisition, voter education material, advertising, publicity and the personal welfare, among others,” he said.- Bulawayo24