12 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Parties Play Numbers Game

MAINSTREAM parties in the inclusive government have intensified their campaigns to lure voters ahead of the harmonised elections next year.

ZANU-PF started the ball rolling when Oppah Muchinguri, the party's Women's Affairs secretary said the Women's League had secured a staggering 700 000 new voters through a massive recruitment drive over the past 11 months, while the Youth League is reportedly targeting one million young voters for the polls.

In essence, both wings are drawing closer to a combined target of securing two million voters for the 2013 harmonised elections.

Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Demo-cratic Change (MDC-T) responded a few days later by releasing their own figures, claiming they had the majority of supporters most of whom were disillusioned by President Robert Mugabe's rule.

The MDC-T has appealed to its supporters to deliver "the keys to State House" to their leader next year.

PM Tsvangirai's deputy, Tho-kozani Khupe, told a rally in Bulawayo last week that people should turn out in large numbers to give PM Tsvangirai a landslide victory over President Mugabe in next year's polls.

"A new Zimbabwe is only possible if you vote for MDC-T. In Makokoba, we must have 20 000 votes so that we achieve a new Zimbabwe. When voting, do that for a better life and the future of your children," she said.

Welshman Ncube's MDC revealed that they were targeting 1,5 million voters. Qhubani Moyo, the party's policy director, questioned ZANU-PF's projections, saying the party does not have the capacity to lure two million new voters.

Moyo said there were only about six million voters in the country while turnout is usually around 40 percent.

Moyo said his party currently has a membership of around 200 000, which it intends to use as agents in a recruitment drive as it prepares for the 2013 polls.

"I doubt if there will be any election in March next year. All the same our membership is around 200 000 and most of them are registered. If elections are held by June we think we can get 1,5 million voters, enough to emerge the winners beyond 50 percent," said Moyo.

He added: "We intend to convert our 200 000 membership to recruitment teams and unleash them on a recruitment overdrive in every village to complement what we are already doing. This election is anyone's game and those genuinely committed to principle, honest and delivery will be the champions".

According to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the number of registered voters in 2008 was 5 571 950 and scientific evidence from the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) revealed that despite the average life expectancy in Zimbabwe of 44,77 years, 74 021 people aged 100 years or more were on the country's electoral roll at the time of the 2008 elections.

RAU also said 182 564 cases of identity numbers and personal details were duplicated in two or more constituencies, despite the Registrar General's claim that such duplication was impossible.

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