9 August 2013

Zimbabwe: ZEC Under Pressure

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is under pressure to justify the high number of assisted voters and persons turned away from polling stations in the just ended general elections.

Zec on Thursday revealed a total of 304 890 people failed to vote after being turned away while 206 901 persons were assisted to vote. There have been allegations that the voters' roll was manipulated resulting in the large numbers of people failing to vote after their names were not located on the roll.

Others found their names in wards they do not reside in. Zec, this week, was forced into fire-fighting to justify the numbers of assisted voters as well as those turned away, amid allegations striking people off the voters' roll was part of a vote rigging plot involving Zanu PF, the Registrar of Voters' office and an Israeli company Nikuv.

In a notice Zec chief elections officer Lovemore Sekeramayi said people were turned away for not appearing on the voters roll at the polling stations and bringing improper documents while others were underage.

Others, he said, had registered after the closure of the voters roll. Sekeramayi said voters can be turned away for not bringing their identity cards or valid passports to prove their identity. Those with expired passports, torn or illegible documents can also be turned away.

He justified the high number of assisted voters on the grounds that many elderly people voted. "There was a high turnout of the old aged people in this election, which category has a high illiteracy rate," said Sekeramayi.

He also said illiterate, blind and physically handicapped people can also be assisted to vote.

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