The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has announced that the voters’ roll for the upcoming general elections will be available to election candidates at the end of June.
The chief elections officer of ZEC, Utloile Silaigwana, made the announcement following the end of the mop-up voter registration exercise on Friday. However, the electoral body has faced criticism from opposition parties and independent election watchdogs for the opaque manner in which it has run the voter registration and verification exercise.
Many people found their names missing from the voters’ roll upon verifying via mobile phone platforms, and others discovered that their names were moved from the polling stations in which they registered. Some have viewed these glitches as part of structural vote rigging.
Silaigwana has assured the public that any anomalies observed during the voters’ roll inspection exercise will be rectified during the final compilation of the voters’ roll. He said:
The Commission would like to assure members of the public that it will rectify any anomalies that were observed during the voters’ roll inspection exercise. This will be done during the final compilation of the voters’ roll.
Despite this, there have been concerns about data protection and the risk of electoral fraud. In March, a court application challenging ZEC for access to the electronic voters’ roll was filed by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislator, Allan Markham, but the courts ruled against him, citing data protection risks. However, ZANU PF has allegedly sent text messages to registered voters urging them to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa, leading to allegations that the party has access to the voters’ roll.