The chaos in the voting process has strengthened allegations that Zanu-PF, with the help of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), wants to steal the polls by disenfranchising people in urban areas which are perceived to be MDC strongholds. Several police officers who failed to cast their ballots during the special vote also failed to vote on Wednesday after finding their names crossed off the roll, an indication that they had voted. ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told journalists the commission did not have an idea of how to deal with the police officers who were turned away other than investigating. “We are investigating cases in which such officers didn’t vote because the register indicated they voted as their names were crossed out,” she said. Only names of those who had successfully cast their ballots were supposed to be crossed off the voters’ roll. Makarau confirmed some voters had been turned away despite producing registration slips as evidence. She said the registration slips of those who failed to vote did not indicate the wards in which they were supposed to cast their ballots.
“We advise all affected persons to go back and vote at any polling station in that constituency. Their details will be recorded in a separate record if they do not appear in the voters’ roll,” she said.
Some people who voted in previous elections, including the 2008 harmonised elections, also found their names missing from the voters’ roll. There have been reports that Zanu-PF was working with a shadowy Israeli company Nikuv to manipulate the voters roll ahead of the polls, to disenfranchise people.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa told the Mail & Guardian that the election process was chaotic and manipulated, citing the high number of voters who were turned away.
“What is disturbing us is that several people were turned away because they were not appearing on the voters’ roll. Those who were lucky to be on the voters’ roll were registered elsewhere, in places like Bikita and Uzumba when they are in Harare,” he said.
“In Ruwa, there was a shortage of ballot papers for the presidential election and people had to wait for several hours. There was also intimidation of voters in Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East. “It has been difficult, but we have done our best, we leave the rest to God,” he said.