Mudede unable to justify failure to avail voters’ roll

The Registrar General of Voters, Tobaiwa Mudede, today failed to disclose the name of the Movement for Democratic Change official who is purported to have collected the voters’ roll from his office on July 31 and the reasons why his office did not avail the electronic list to interested parties before elections.

Tobaiwa Mudede
Tobaiwa Mudede

Addressing journalists at Munhumutapa offices in Harare today, Mudede refuted claims from the MDC that his office did not avail the voters roll when the MDC formations requested it.

He said: “These people have not come to us to ask for the voters’ roll. What we have seen are just pieces of paper in the form of petitions and letters from them. Our office made a decision to give free copies of the voters’ roll to interested parties and those who wanted it came and collected. The MDC insisted on the electronic one,” he said.

The MDC described the July 31 poll as a “sham election which had the potential to put the country in a crisis”.

The African Union observer mission today revealed that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission violated Section 20 and 21 of the Electoral Act when it failed to avail the final copy of the voters roll for public scrutiny.

“The voters roll was made publicly available two days before the election, rather late for meaningful inspection and verification by voters, parties and candidates to take place,” read the statement.

Asked which between the electronic or hard copy voters’ rolls came first, Mudede refused to respond and redirected the question to his Information and Technology officer only identified as Machira.

“I am entitled not to answer certain questions, and it is important that we do not dwell on issues that we have discussed because there are others wishing to have their questions responded to,” said an evasive Mudede.

He revealed that soon after the court ruling compelling his office to give copies of the voters’ roll to the MDC, he personally made sure that the request was actioned to avoid unnecessary claims’ from the MDCs.

“The idea of coming to my office at 4 pm was to discredit me that I had not complied with a court ruling. I am a meticulous individual and those interested to know the name of the official who collected the whole voters’ roll can come with me to my office and I will furnish you with the details,” he said.

He told journalists that the MDC representative had collected voters’ rolls of all the country’s 1 958 wards.

“We cannot have a perfect voters’ roll and definitely, it is expected to have a 10 percent margin of error but I am in control of the registration process. Allegations that the voters roll was manipulated are false,” he said.

Mudede accused the MDC and non- governmental organisations working in Zimbabwe of creating their ‘own voters’ roll’.

“They will have to explain themselves. Where did they get copies of the voters’ roll? It is not part of my voters’ roll and even the wards are different,” he said.

The voters’ roll has been a contentious issue, with other parties saying it was used by the RG’s office in cahoots with Zanu (PF) to rig the Wednesday polls.

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