Monday 29 May 2023


The voters’ roll inspection exercise witnessed a low turnout in Bulawayo, with some voters failing to find their names on the roll while others discovered they had been relocated to other polling stations, a circumstance that polling officers on the ground attributed to delimitation.

However, observers and opposition political parties blamed this on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) dishonest election administration.

The aim of the voter’s roll inspection exercise is to verify voters’ registration details as they apply to their constituency, ward, polling station, prevent fraud, identify irregularities and build trust in electoral processes.

During the observation period, the political environment was calm but the number of people coming to check their details was ‘very’ low, as the news crew would find inspection stations unoccupied with ZEC officers just sitting.

Given the limited number of people who physically presented themselves for inspection, determining the number of voters who successfully confirmed their names from the voters’ roll was challenging.

On the other hand, potential voters, including some opposition members, were disappointed to learn their names were not on the roll, with little assistance from ZEC officers who could only take their names and refer them to ZEC provincial offices in Famona.

A group of women who had gone to verify their names at Masiyephambili Junior were upset that their names were absent, claiming this was an indication their ability to vote would be revoked.

The group was now organising themselves and saving each other’s contact information in preparation for their next move.

As CITE visited the inspection centres in Bulawayo, some ZEC officers were uncomfortable having the media around especially at Cowdray Park Central SDA while other inspection centres claimed the journalists had no accreditation, which ZEC did not call for.

It was also observed the ability of the public to check the roll for non-residents, dead people, or multiple registrants was hampered by the fact that the voters’ rolls were not posted outside in all the centres visited because ZEC officers only had the roll inside the station.

At some stations such as Richmond Hall, Northend and Milton High, ZEC officers did confirm the turnout was low but attributed that to people possibly using the mobile function *265# to check their registration details.

“Some came to the wrong station and we directed them to their stations. We also used the mobile function to check where some were registered if their names were not on the roll here. Of course, there are network problems and some we referred to ZEC offices,” said the presiding officer at Northend.

ZEC officers at Newmansford Primary reported that less than 40 people had been served in the two days.

“On Sunday we had about 33 people and today so far only five. Yesterday about half managed to find their names, the other half, no. We asked those whose names were not there to go to ZEC. Most probably, delimitation is the reason which has resulted in changes, their names could be there but at different polling stations,” said the officer.

The ZEC officer urged citizens to act quickly since, once the president announced the election date, they would only have two days to have their names added to the roll.

“About 40 people have come here but the roll we have here has 72 people. We noted more elderly people, those whose names were not here we redirected them to other nearby polling stations. We had to check the range of their house numbers and redirect them accordingly,” said the presiding officer.

Political party agents were largely absent from the polling stations visited, and it was noted that some polling stations had voting populations of fewer than 100 people, such as Tategulu Primary in Cowdray Park, where the voters roll has 72 names, which may have implications for the secrecy of the vote, as it may be easy to target people, especially given the polling station-based voters’ roll.

A member of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), David Coltart, whose name was moved to another polling station without his knowledge, said ZEC was supposed to notify voters of the changes in terms of Section 35 (2) of the Electoral Act which they did not do.

“This has been done to sow confusion. The only way these shenanigans can be countered is if everyone takes the time to check the voter’s roll. Please do so, this nonsense must end,” he said. CITE


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