Dear Family and Friends,
Zimbabweans are so exhausted with the year long struggle to get money, their own money out of the banks, that almost everything else seems of little consequence. How can you worry about elections when you have to spend half of every day outside the door of the bank in order to withdraw your own money? How can you even think about the voters roll when all the bank allows you to withdraw is twenty dollars and it’s all in 25 cent Bond coins? Sometimes it even seems as if the year long shortage of cash is deliberately not being addressed or resolved by our government so that we do exactly what we’re doing and spend every day worrying about cash and don’t follow or even care about events of critical national importance.
There was a by-election in Chiwundura last weekend. Two election watchdog organizations, the ERC and ZESN said they had found massive irregularities. These included: 863 people registered more than once and appearing at different polling stations; 724 voters with similar first names, surnames, gender and date of birth but with different ID numbers and at different polling stations; 132 voters with ID numbers that are invalid; 218 voters with ID numbers with a suffix that doesn’t conform to the National Registration Act. The executive director of the ERC described the “worst case scenario” where one person with exactly the same ID number and personal details was found on the roll at three different polling stations.
The head of the government’s Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Justice Rita Makarau said she “welcomed this sort of engagement” and then said it was: “important that we highlight the fact that in that part of the country there can be more than two Rosemary Moyos living in different parts of Gweru and I have been reassured that this is the case.” Mrs Makarau may be reassured but I don’t think we are as we wonder how many polling stations we are each registered at, how we will know, and if our dead relations are still on voters rolls numerous different polling stations.
In a press interview last week Mrs Makarau said that people with ALIEN on their ID cards: “Must regularize their identification particulars to show they are Zimbabwean citizens.”