ZIMBABWE’s Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede has claimed that NGOs are tampering with the voters roll to create a picture that the document has been inflated by Mr. Mudede’s ZANU PF party.
Mudede (pictured-right) expressed ‘concern’ over the involvement of some human rights non-governmental organisations in the production of fake voter registration certificates. His statements came at a time when he also revealed a mysterious 300,000 voters had died since 2008, which figure is coincidentally the same as the one reported by the 2008 election judge, Justice George Chiweshe. The figure caused an election run off for the presidential poll which resulted in Mugabe contender Morgan Tsvangirai failing to secure a win.
The RG told journalists in Harare that the development is an attempt by some NGOs to discredit Zimbabwe’s voter’s roll and the country’s electoral system.
Since the year 2000, and several reports being published about mysterious ghost voters on the voters roll, which situation was verified as true, this is the first time in history that the Registrar General has pointed fingers at NGOs.
Mudede said such NGOs were aimed at creating political instability. The RG has in the past openly confessed his allegiance to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.
“This will result in lack of faith by the public in the existing voters’ roll and electoral system”, he said.
“Worth noting is the fact that free and fair election is a much wider term in assessing elections. It covers a lot of issues, inter alia serious irregularities in the actual conduct of elections, voter registration and the voters’ roll itself.
“Anything that goes wrong will result in the losing parties or candidates taking political or legal action over the cited irregularities,” he added.
The RG said losing candidates and political parties would produce the counterfeit voter registration certificates to the international community as proof of alleged rigging.
“These counterfeits are a recipe for confusion to the voting public resulting in misinterpretation of the electoral process,” he said.
Mudede’s accusations come as four ZimRights officials were arrested on charges of allegedly manufacturing counterfeit copies of registration certificates. The community workers are yet to be tried for the alleged crime.
Soon after Mudede’s press statement, the state-owned media subsequently reported claiming that the AG had ‘revealed’ that the said NGOs are indeed tempering with the voters’ roll that they would have purchased from the RG’s office.
According to the law, anyone is allowed to request for a copy of the voters’ roll from the RG.
He said the detractors are also seeking to delay the holding of the forthcoming election by peddling falsehoods that there has to be a new voters’ roll and tarnishing the image of the RG with a view to have the voters’ roll done by themselves.
They allegedly tried to discredit the voters’ roll by manufacturing counterfeit copies of the certificate of registration as a voter which they would complete with false names of alleged registered voters. “Some NGOs have embarked on a campaign to deliberately discredit the national voters’ roll by abusing their access to the national voters’ roll,” said Mr Mudede.
“The law allows anyone to request for a copy of the voters roll and this provision in turn avails voters’ rolls to NGOs who in fact are conduits of external forces who have ulterior motives.”
“Some NGOs have embarked on a campaign to deliberately discredit the national voters’ roll by abusing their access to the national voters’ roll,” said Mr Mudede.
“The law allows anyone to request for a copy of the voters roll and this provision in turn avails voters’ rolls to NGOs who in fact are conduits of external forces who have ulterior motives,” he added.
The ZRP Officer Commanding Harare province, present at the press conference, Senior Assistant Commissioner Clement Munoriarwa said tampering with the voters roll has serious repercussions.
The state media reported a different figure from what Mudede had stated at the press conference. The visual broadcaster, ZBC reported 5 500 355, while the Herald newspaper carried 89000 more reporting it as 5, 589 355. Mudede however officially announced the figure as 5, 589 355. It was not clear why ZBC had reported a different figure from what was stated by the AG.
Mysterious 300,000 voters die
5, 934 768 people voted in the 2008 general polls, but however the number has since dropped to slightly over 5, 5 million, Mr Mudede said yesterday. The difference which is 300, 000 conincidentally is the same figure which caused presidential contender Morgan Tsvangirai to fail to secure a win against Robert Mugabe following the 2008 presidential elections.