Harare – Zimbabwe’s opposition cried foul on Monday after many voters, including some senior politicians, said their names had been removed or misplaced on the voters’ roll ahead of national elections.
Zimbabweans head to the polls in what is predicted to be a tense general vote later this year, with the ruling party accused of cracking down on opposition voices.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said a date for the elections – expected to be in August – would be announced this week.
Meanwhile, the leading opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), said the voters’ roll made available for public inspection by election authorities seemed to be riddled with “errors”.
“We have noted serious anomalies,” the CCC said.
Some voters’ names were missing while others had – unknowingly to them – been registered to vote in places other than their ward of residence, it said.
CCC lawmaker David Coltart, a former education minister, said he was among those who could not find their name on the list at his local polling station.
“Whether it is chaos or whether it is deliberately targeting CCC members, we cannot say at the moment, but one can only describe the voters’ roll as shambolic,” Coltart told AFP.
He later tweeted that, after a day of trying, he found his name registered at a polling station further away from his home.
Hundreds of people reported similar issues, he said.
Witness Dube, a spokesman of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), another opposition party, said they had also been receiving similar complaints.
“The jury is still out… as to whether we are going to have free and credible elections,” Dube said.
Election authorities said they would be correcting all mistakes.
“That is precisely the reason we have this voters’ roll inspection,” Rodney Kiwa, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission deputy chairman told AFP. “We’re not perfect.”
Mnangagwa, who replaced long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in 2017, faces widespread discontent as he struggles to ease entrenched poverty, end chronic power cuts and economic hardships.
Earlier this year, civic activists voiced fears of irregularities after an analysis of electoral boundaries redrawn ahead of the vote showed some wards to be located in Antarctica.
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