One-third Of Zimbabwe's Voters Already Dead

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Researchers say nearly one-third of Zimbabwe's 5.5 million registered voters are dead, and others appear to be up to 120 years old, well exceeding life expectancy in the southern African nation.\r\n

The findings are contained in the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Voters Roll Observation audit report launched in Harare Thursday.

“…27 percent of voters registered in the voters’ roll were deceased,” noted the report compiled last November. "The computer test revealed 2344 people born between 1901 and 1909 aged between 101 and 110 years old. It also revealed 9 people born between 1890 and 1900 aged between 111 and 120 years old.”

ZESN is a civic organisation whose main goal is to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe. The voters roll audit was meant to assess the quality of the voters’ roll in Zimbabwe testing the accuracy, currency and completeness of the voters’ roll and make recommendations for the cleanup of the roll.

The audit was carried out in 102 wards of the country’s 2000 wards.

The report’s findings concluded that there was a 6, 35 ‘per cent’ increase in the number of registered voters between 2008 and 2010. This translated into a 52 percent male registration and 48 percent registration of women yet 52 ‘per cent’ of the country’s population were females.

Only 18 ‘per cent’ of youth voters were registered in the period leading up to the 2008 elections. Forty-one ‘per cent’ of registered voters were no longer residing at the addresses listed in the voters’ roll.

The report also highlighted that there were dissatisfactions among respondents in the manner in which the voter registration process was conducted. Complaints centred on the tedious requirement of providing proof of residence particularly for urban voters most of whom were lodgers. This resulted in the disenfranchisement of many urban voters.

In its recommendations ZESN called for the drawing up of a new voters’ roll in Zimbabwe which will help improve currency, accuracy and completeness of the voters roll.

It said this should be done in a transparent manner to make sure that such processes as the deletion of names from the voters’ roll is not left to constituency registrars alone. This, it said, should be done in tandem with a vigorous voter education campaign to educate citizens on procedures of how to register, transfer, object, claim and facilitate deletion of dead voters.

Meanwhile ZESN Chairperson Tinoziva Bere was after the launch of the report threatened with unspecified action by Zanu (PF) representatives who forced him to reveal ZESN’s stance on sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Four middle aged Zanu (PF) representatives led by one Chaunoita who were at the event approached Bere outside Holiday Inn’s Kariba conference room which was venue of the event. This was after one of the Zanu (PF) representatives asked Bere whether the country should hold elections while some members of a certain political party were still under sanctions.

Bere had likened the issue of sanctions to a member of a family who was being rejected by his neighbours because of a father’s failure to put his house in order.

Radio VOP witnessed the four quizzing Bere.

In an interview with Radio VOP, Bere said: “They also asked me why ZESN was not campaigning against sanctions. I told them that we are an apolitical organisation, which analyses elections not supporting any party position."

President Robert Mugabe and his high ranking Zanu (PF) ministers have warned that if sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West are not removed, they will seize foreign-owned companies.