Sunday, May 6, 2018

Multiple voter registrants ‘in trouble’

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Sharon Munjenjema
The new voters roll compilation system has managed to sift through the provisional list of voters raising ‘red flags’ on individuals who intentionally registered more than once and face prosecution.
The Sunday Mail has gathered that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has singled out multiple registrants and is contemplating raising criminal cases against the culprits.
The revelations put to rest fears, especially in the opposition parties, on the ability by ZEC to identify and eliminate multiple registrants intending to vote more than once.
It has been gathered that ZEC will soon table a report before Parliament on its preparedness for the elections that have been hinted to take place anytime between July and August.
The authority has also set the 19th to 29th of this month as the period for inspection of the provisional voters roll.
In an interview last week, ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said registering to vote multiple times translated to a criminal offense.
“There are some who deliberately and intentionally registered more than once,” she said.
“We have a list of them and we are contemplating whether or not as a commission we should refer that list to the police for prosecution and say these people made a false statement.
“That affidavit form that was signed during registration was a declaration that the information given was correct.
“So what they were then saying in terms of that information (for example is) I live in Kuwadzana and then go to another polling station and say I am declaring this information to be true that I live in Mbare. And you do the same thing in other areas.”
“This action creates administrative problems. We have a mandate to perform and doing that (multiple registration) is tantamount to playing with us.
“If you left a number we contact you and ask what happened. If you are aware (of what you did), you have committed an offence.
“What we are hoping to do is to deter people from doing that in future,” Justice Chigumba said.
Justice Chigumba could not divulge the number of multiple registrants saying the figures would be included in the ZEC report to be tabled before parliament.
She said a final process of cleaning the voters’ roll was on-going ahead of the inspection next week.
Justice Chigumba said the commission was also working closely with the registrar generals office to get information on deaths that occurred since the beginning of the year with a view to delete such people from the voters roll.
Previously, names of deceased people appeared on the voters roll raising suspicions of vote rigging.
Said Justice Chigumba: “There are some people in the rural areas who don’t bother to notify the authorities of deaths of family members.
“That is why we always say to those who have relatives that have died, please notify us at ZEC.
“If authorities have not been notified we at ZEC have no way of determining that the person is dead.”
The commission is also preparing an exclusion list of people whose registration data has queries.
“It’s not necessarily an indication of a criminal activity but there are some people who may have entered different demographic data.
“Others, there may be two people who have the same first name and last name.
“Those people may find their names on the exclusion list (during inspection of voters roll) and there will be a keynote instructing them to go to the registrar general’s,” said Justice Chigumba.
Justice Chigumba emphasised that this year’s elections are polling station based.
A registered voter’s name will only appear at one polling station and it will be impossible to vote at any other station.
Although the registration process is computer based, voting will be done the traditional way.