The ERC opens a can of worms

Ahead of the Chiwundura by-election that was held on the 15th of July 2017, the Election Resource Centre conducted an audit of the voters’ roll that was to be used. The audit revealed various anomalies ranging from multiple registrations – where a high number of people were registered as having the same name, date of birth and address, with the only difference being identity numbers – people registered more than once and appearing as voters in different polling stations to some Identity Document (ID) numbers with suffixes that do not conform to the National Registration Act. The ERC proceeded to engage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), compelling the Commission to address the concerns emerging out of the Chiwundura Constituency voters’ roll ahead of the by-election.

The voter registry audit conducted unearthed three (3) crucial realities about the administration of elections in Zimbabwe;

  1. ZEC incompetence to deliver a credible voters’ roll for the 2018 General Elections.
  2. Evidence that an electronic copy of the 2013 voters’ roll is available, though flawed.
  3. The Registrar General’s system of issuing out National Identity Documents is flawed or can easily be manipulated.

In consequence ZEC acknowledged findings from the ERC’s assessment of the Chiwundura by-election voters’ roll and undertook to take corrective measures for future elections. Findings from the audit also engendered nationwide calls by various electoral stakeholders for ZEC to improve its handling of electoral processes.