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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Crisis Report - Issue 206
in Zimbabwe Coalition
August 01, 2013
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roll: mixed bag of pleasant and un-pleasant surprises
The late delivery
of a surprise voters’ roll which many electoral stakeholders
encountered for the first time at polling stations in Zimbabwe’s
31 July vote yielded a number of surprises, mostly negative,
but with some silver linings.
consolidated roll” came to be used with very few of the queries
that were raised in its earlier version actually addressed. These
include the issue of ghost voters, and the presence on the roll
of thousands of centurions in a country with a life expectancy of
less than 50.
to the above stated discrepancies which are reported to still abound,
there also bad surprises in store for some voters, who either found
themselves completely missing from the roll, or relocated to constituencies
and wards they have not previously voted in. Unlike first time voters
or recent transfers who could then vote using their slips, people
previously on the roll who found themselves removed, did not have
any recourse but to give up their franchise because of the unexplained
pleasant surprises….for “aliens”
roll had a few pleasant surprises, with some people who have never
registered or had failed to do so, getting information and confirmations
that they actually were on the roll. Amongst these were a substantial
number of Zimbabweans of foreign decent, who got the surprise of
their lives when they visited polling stations either to cast their
vote or check on their possibility to vote.
were turned away, It is reported that some were allowed to vote,
while others were thoroughly shocked to find their names on the
voters’ roll following their removal in 2008.
On 22 May 2013,
following the President Robert Mugabe’s signing of the new
constitution Zimbabweans who were formerly regarded as ‘aliens’
celebrated section 36 of the Constitution
which states that a person is a citizen of Zimbabwe by birth if
the person was born in Zimbabwe and when he or she was born either
their father or mother was a Zimbabwean citizen or any of that persons
grandparents was a Zimbabwean citizen by birth or registration.
enables persons previously categorised as aliens to regularise their
citizenship in accordance with the new Constitution in order to
enjoy the full benefits of being a citizen including the right to
The word “alien”
was introduced into regular use after the amendment of the Citizenship
of Zimbabwe Act (Chapter 4.1) in 2002 resulting in many people losing
Zimbabwean citizenship despite that in many cases they were Zimbabweans
by birth and Zimbabwe was the only home they knew.
In an interview
with Crisis Report Team, Collen Tembo, 25, who was unable to vote
during the Constitutional
referendum because he was regarded as an “alien”
indicated that he was very happy to be a first time voter since
he didn’t manage to vote in previous elections.
quite excited because it was my first time to vote since I wasn’t
allowed in 2008. I voted well today at Belgravia Sports Club, and
was serviced by electoral officials there in a professional manner.
The officials there did not ask me any untoward questions, they
just went about their roles, facilitating my franchise. The process
was fast and for the first time in while, I stopped feeling like
I didn’t belong, like an ‘alien’, but like a full
Zimbabwean. I will always cherish and really do appreciate that
I got this opportunity to register and actually vote,” said
As a result
of long disenfranchisement since 2002 Zimbabweans of foreign decent
did not participate much in national process and even faced difficulties
in obtaining national identity documents. When they did get the
national documents, they were branded with a big ‘A’
for alien, rather than the watermarked ‘C’ for citizen,
perpetuating a Zimbabwean variant of the cast system.
My husband and
I were not on the online voters’ roll and we were not allowed
to vote in 2008, when our names had been removed from the voters’
role. So my husband took a stroll to our polling station (Eastridge
School) this morning and decided to check. Just in case. His name
and mine were both on the list and he was allowed to VOTE!!! I'm
about to go now and stand in the queue. So please post and encourage
'aliens' to take the chance and go and check,” said one citizen
who inboxed the Crisis Coalition on their Facebook page.
above, it was not all former ‘aliens’ who had this good
streak of luck. The NewsDay at 1500 hours, on election day, reported
via Twitter, that most of the people who were turned away from Mai
Musodzi Hall , in Mbare constituency were former ‘aliens’.
A group of aliens
at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare told NewsDay they constituted the bulk
of people who were turned away #ZimDecides13,” from a NewsDay
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