Some 300,000 voters were turned away and 206,000 received assistance from election officials during last week’s disputed vote, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said Thursday. The commission said nearly 3.5 million people cast their ballots in last weeks elections which extended President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule after he won 61% of the presidential vote against rival Morgan Tsvangia’s 34% . ZEC’s statistics show that nearly 305,000 people were turned away from voting with the largest number – about 64,000 – turned away in the Harare alone. The voters were reportedly turned away because their names were missing from the voters’ roll, they were registered in another ward or they did not have adequate identification.
Urban areas have long been a stronghold of Mugabe’s rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who claimed the vote was rigged.
The outgoing premier’s MDC-T party which has vowed to mount a legal challenge against the elections latched on to ZEC’s admission saying it backs its claim that the vote was a “monumental farce”.
“Although ZEC has released these figures, the correct numbers are higher than this considering that two million people particularly in the urban areas failed to register in the chaotic voter registration exercise,” the party said in a statement.
“From the figures released by ZEC it is clear that people’s will was disregarded especially in the rural areas where villagers were coerced to vote for Zanu PF by the State agents, Zanu PF militias and traditional leaders in clear violation of the Electoral Act.