“Aliens” illegally registered as voters

Hundreds of people of migrant origins whose citizenship was restored through a new constitution after the March 2013 referendum had their registration as voters fast tracked by Zanu (PF) to boost its votes.

Investigations show that the registration of the so called “aliens”, whose origins can be traced back mostly to Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, to vote in the July 31 general elections was done without following proper procedures.

Migrant citizens in Zimbabwe were stateless for more than a decade following the outlawing of dual citizenship.

However, most of them could not get Zimbabwean citizenship because they had never belonged to any other country or found it impossible to furnish the Registrar General with details of where they had originated from, resulting in their identity cards being labelled “Alien”.

Consequently, they could not vote in elections that followed the statutory amendment.

While some of the aliens registered properly, it has emerged that hundreds others were fast tracked through by Zanu (PF) officials acting in cahoots with the Registrar General’s office.

Interviewed beneficiaries of the scam confessed that they never went through their purported embassies to get clearance as required by the law, but successfully registered as voters.

Zanu (PF), which bagged 158 seats in last week’s disputed elections, the migrant workers said, embarked on a vigorous recruitment drive during the registration periods prior to the polls, as a way of gathering votes.

It reportedly held mobilisation meetings on former commercial farms in Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland West, in addition to mining towns where the “aliens” are concentrated.

The mobilisation also targeted urban areas like Mbare, which houses high populations of migrant citizens.

The urban migrant citizens said they were also threatened with eviction from their residences if they did not vote Zanu (PF).

For the first time since 2000, MDC-T lost the Mbare seat to Zanu (PF), whose “alien” citizens said they were frog marched to Zanu (PF) meetings almost every day where they told to vote Zanu (PF).

The meetings, they said, were held at the disused Rufaro Marketing beer garden behind Matapi Flats in the populous suburb.

The Malawian High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, Jane Kambalame, said her office would investigate the possibility of people whose origins could be traced to her but did not get clearance from the embassy before registering as voters.

"The Consular Office is investigating the matter," she said in an exclusive interview.

The July 31 polls were marred by allegations of Zanu (PF) bussing people from rural areas to vote in urban constituencies, intimidation, multiple voting and the manipulation of voters.

MDC-T has since dismissed the outcome of the polls, in which Robert Mugabe also won with a landslide, as a sham and has called for an audit of the ballots.

Most observer missions, while recognising the elections were peaceful, did not describe them as fair.

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