Mudede denies tampering with voters roll

tobaiwa_mudedeHARARE - Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede (pictured) has flatly denied tampering with the voters roll saying the dead people appearing on the voters roll died after the voter register was closed in the last election. The sly RG has also strongly denied charges that his office had helped President Mugabe steal elect

In the four elections since 2000, independent observers have concluded that President Mugabes victories were the result of violent intimidation; partisan electoral laws and security services; and outright cheating through the voters roll. But Mudede has moved to assure the nation that the voters roll was being cleaned and would be ready for the elections which Mugabe wants mid 2011. Mudede claims officers from the Registrar Generals office deployed to collect data from chiefs, headmen, village heads, and other sources on the number of people who have died in their areas have done the job. Mudede claims since the commencement of the program on August 16 this year, the officials from his department have managed to collect information on 32 065 deceased persons, who had not been issued with death certificates. Another 5 882 deaths have also been registered during the period.

“When we close the voters roll, immediately after the closure people continue to die,” Mudede said. “And we don’t tamper with the voters roll that we have closed. So when a voters roll is put to election, the voters roll is infact carrying deceased people right up to the voting day. Some people die before they come to vote and this is why a figure or a percentage, the 10 percent which is called the margin of error, thats the margin of error, is actually applied to these systems to cater for such things.”

Despite Mudede’s claims, the voters roll actually contains the names of long-dead people, among them the law and order minister during the Rhodesian era, Desmond Lardner-Burke, who was born in 1909. His name was found on a ward list for Mount Pleasant. It appears Mudede’s pronouncements are made to buttress President Mugabe push for an early

election opposed by rivals who say the voters roll needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says the voters roll is a “graveyard.” The MDC has said it wants a biometric voters roll linked to a computer database.

A voters roll audit carried out by the MDC unearthed 503 dead voters, all of them born on 1 January 1901. There are people who would be 107-years-old still appearing on the voters roll.

Copies of the voters roll used in the disputed 208 elections, which resulted in the formation of the unity government, reveals that there are 144,202 people over the age of 90 on the voters roll. There were 115 voters who were below the age of 18, the legal voting age, with the youngest being one-year-old at the time of 2008 elections. We have embarked on an exercise to clean up the voters roll and we are working on this ahead of next years elections and we want the people

to know that we are also preparing for the elections, said Mudede.

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