Back to Index, Back to Special Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Zimbabwe voters' roll fraud exposed
Munyaka, Mail and Guardian (SA)
June 14, 2013
is resorting to underhanded means to ensure it registers enough
voters to win elections
Zanu-PF has drawn up
a plan to sway election results in its favour by manipulating the
voter registration process that happens throughout the year, and
which is being intensively carried out since June 10.
The plan, mainly
centered on disenfranchising as many people as possible in urban
constituencies where the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) excelled
in the 2008 poll, will ensure that as few people as possible
who are not Zanu-PF members are registered on the voters' roll in
those constituencies. The MDC-T holds 23 of the 24 constituencies
Observations by the Mail
& Guardian in the past month reveal a pattern of voters being
denied the chance to register due to various impediments, and unusually
large numbers of voters are being registered in urban areas after
The M&G has previously
reported that the registrar general was also possibly manipulating
the voters' roll, which would see a substantial number of voters
being removed from the roll, making them ineligible to vote.
Party sources this week
confirmed the plan that they say also involves resettling landless
people in selected MDC strongholds in urban areas, such as Harare,
to boost the number of Zanu-PF votes. The party is also intending
to ensure that soldiers and the police are mobilised in its favour,
the source said.
The plan, according to
insiders, was devised by Zanu-PF's commissariat department, which
is run by Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena, who retired from the Air
Force of Zimbabwe in 2010, and former Central Intelligence Organisation
director internal Sydney Nyanhongo, who retired from his post to
work for Zanu-PF.
Insiders revealed this
week that Zanu-PF's commissariat had come up with alternative ways
of swaying votes as it has become apparent that the Southern African
Development Community and international groups will be watching
developments during the election period. Muchena and Nyanhongo did
not respond to queries about their plans.
mostly rural constituencies in the last election and, to boost its
numbers in Parliament,
the party is aiming to wrest some urban seats from the MDC formations.
The opposition alleges
the party has been gradually resettling people in selected constituencies
such as Harare north, where it has recently been parcelling out
land to Zanu-PF aligned housing co-operatives.
"Thousands of people
have been given land through housing co-operatives in Hatcliffe,
and this will boost our numbers in the constituency," said
the same source.
The land-for-votes strategy
first came to light in the 2008 general elections when Hubert Nyanhongo
won the Harare south seat after thousands of landless people were
given housing stands in the constituency in return for voting for
Zanu-PF. Harare south is the only constituency Zanu-PF won in Harare.
established in Harare north include Imba Mukadzi, Chimurenga, Kukura,
Kubatana Kwakanaka and Greater Harare Women's Housing Project.
Some co-operatives were
formed in 2010, when Zanu-PF started its poll plans. In Harare north,
members of the co-operative who spoke to the M&G said Zanu-PF
mobilised its supporters to form the co-operatives, which then applied
Harare north legislator
Theresa Makone, who is also the co-minister of home affairs and
chair of the MDC-T Women's Assembly, confirmed the existence of
the housing projects, which she said had resulted in more than 10
000 people being moved into her constituency.
"Some of the people
who are now being registered in my constituency are from Sally Mugabe
Heights, which should be in Goromonzi West constituency. All this
is meant to upset my majority because there are thousands of people
being registered under these co-operatives."
Makone said her suspicions
that the ruling party was up to no good were confirmed when she
inspected the voters' roll for her constituency on April 15 and
discovered that her name was missing.
After complaining to
registry officials she acquired another voters' roll two days later
and this time her name had been included, but the number of people
in ward 18 had also shot up from 8 305 people to 10 076, she said.
"The jump was shocking,
given that on average they were registering about 200 people per
day, but in 48-hours they managed to register 2 000 voters,"
In ward 42, which is
also in Harare north, the roll had 5 196 people listed on April
15, but the number had more than trebled, to 17 068, by April 17.
The huge increase was caused by the large number of people registered
under housing co-operatives, Makone said.
Zanu-PF is also counting
on the security sector vote, and aims to use it to win the Harare
central seat and other seats where barracks, police camps and prisons
Commanders of the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces, most of whom have publicly declared their allegiance
to President Robert Mugabe, have also been reportedly forcing their
members to urge families in the camps to vote for the party.
In the 2008 elections
members of the army and police reported that they had voted in the
presence of their commanders.
The new Constitution
allows for prisoners to vote but Zimbabwe Prison Services spokesperson
Elizabeth Banda said: "A lot of logistical issues would need
to be put in place but we stand guided by the Justice Minister."
In Mbare, an area that
is dense with informal traders, vendors said vending stalls were
issued only to those who could produce Zanu-PF party membership
cards and all traders, including those from areas outside the constituency,
were forced to register to vote in the area they trade in.
Although proof of residence
is required when one registers, vendors in Mbare allege that Zanu-PF
activists bypassed the requirement by giving their names and national
identity numbers to party officials, who registered on their behalf,
despite not meeting the requirements.
Residents of Mabvuku
in Harare, who also spoke to the M&G, complained of a similar
operation. Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was unavailable for
Party sources say Registrar
General Tobaiwa Mudede has been mandated to make sure that few people
are able to register in areas where the MDC enjoys support.
Mudede, who has often
been accused of rigging previous elections, is in charge of the
Last month, during the
mobile voter registration exercise, officials from Mudede's office,
who carried out the process, were widely accused of making it difficult
for people in urban areas to register.
They were demanding proof
of residence bearing the name of the person who wanted to register,
despite the knowledge that most people in townships do not own houses,
but instead rent accommodation, mostly without formal leases.
After a flood of complaints,
Cabinet ordered that people be allowed to register after they sign
an affidavit proving they live in the constituency, but registry
officials failed to provide the affidavits.
The M&G observed
the registration in urban areas such as the Matabeleland region,
where registration was slow mainly because of the deliberately sluggish
pace of officials. In contrast, registration centres in Mashonaland
east, central and west were being run efficiently.
In addition, a large
number of people who managed to register in urban areas were not
given registration slips, but in Zanu-PF strongholds the slips were
more readily available. To be allowed to vote, rules stipulate that
potential voters who are not on the roll must produce a registration
slip to prove they have registered.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas
Mwonzora said the inefficiencies displayed by officials was meant
to aid Zanu-PF.
"It's clear that
Mudede's office is staging a go-slow in MDC strongholds so that
few people register. In areas where they think Zanu-PF is strong,
they are more efficient.
"We are also aware
that in our strongholds, people are not being given registration
slips and this reinforces our belief that something sinister is
"We are demanding
that there be a separate voter inspection period after the voter
Figures supplied by Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission deputy chair Joyce Kazembe showed that Mashonaland
east, central and west - areas that showed the highest support for
Zanu-PF in the last elections - recorded the highest number of first-time
voters during the mobile registration period: 204 041 between April
29 and May 19.
Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, recorded only 5 068
first-time voters. Zanu-PF has not won a single seat in Bulawayo
since the MDC contested an election, in 2000.
On Monday Mudede raised
eyebrows when he said his department did not have enough money to
abide by constitutional requirements that voter registration should
take place for at least 30 days in all wards.
He said the programme,
which began on Monday, would be district-based not ward-based, raising
fears that again some people would be left out.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.