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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • High Court bars advocacy group from launching voters roll audit
    Alex Bell, SW Radio Africa

    July 17, 2013

    View this article on the SW Radio Africa website

    The High Court on Wednesday barred the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) from launching an audit of Zimbabwe’s voters roll, which has highlighted even more discrepancies ahead of elections.

    The audit follows a preliminary report RAU released earlier this month which highlighted the critical problems discovered in the voters roll, such as the number of registered voters in some areas being higher than actual adults counted in last year’s national census.

    On Wednesday the group was set to launch its detailed analysis at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harare. But on Wednesday morning an interdict from the High Court was handed to the group and to the venue, blocking the launch.

    Senior RAU researcher Rumbidzai Dube told SW Radio Africa that the interdict, filed by Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, was based on incorrect information. She said that Mudede had filed his application on the ‘misconception’ that RAU was launching the full voters roll. Mudede had argued in his application that RAU was trying ‘assume’ his powers, and they intended to cause ‘chaos and anarchy’ within the electoral system.

    Dube explained that this was not the case, and that RAU was only planning to launch its audit of the voters roll, not the voters roll itself. She said Mudede had based his application only on information contained in a NewsDay article, and no attempt was made to verify the facts with RAU before the interdict was signed.

    Calling it ‘unprocedural’ Dube also explained how they were not given any notice of the Registrar General’s application until the interdict was served on Wednesday.

    “Ordinarily the interdict would be procedural if the Certificate of Urgency had been properly signed and stamped that would have allowed them to do what they did, but it wasn’t, so there was need for them (the RG) to serve papers on us first before coming with the final order,” Dube said.

    She added: “What we have done is we have consulted our lawyers and they are in the process of filing opposing papers. We have also delivered a copy of our report to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.”

    The key findings in the audit include:

    • That there are nearly 2,000,000 potential voters aged under 30 who are unregistered.
    • That there are well over 1,000,000 people on the roll who are either deceased or have left the country.
    • That 63 constituencies have more registered voters than inhabitants.
    • There is a marked registration bias in favour of rural constituencies.

    SW Radio Africa is Zimbabwe's Independent Voice and broadcasts on Short Wave 4880 KHz in the 60m band.

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