Nqobile Tshili Bulawayo Bureau
Over 4,7 million people have inspected the provisional voters’ roll as the programme ends today, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said.
The voters’ roll is a cornerstone to holding elections as President Mnangagwa can only announce dates for the polls after it has been produced.
In a statement on Saturday, Zec said of the 5,4 million registered voters, more than 4,7 million people used different platforms to inspect the voters’ roll.
“Six hundred and ninety four thousand and thirty (694 030) physically inspected the voters’ roll as at May 24, 2018. 819 935 used the USSD code *265# and 3 256440 received bulk SMS. 4 770405 people have so far checked their registration status,” said Zec in a statement.
The voters’ roll inspection programme started on May 19 and ends today.
Unregistered voters were also expected to use the same programme to register at various polling stations. The Chronicle could not ascertain the number of new registrants who took advantage of the programme.
Of the total registered 5,4 million voters, 11 018 have been excluded from the voters’ roll for various reason as 5 326 died, 3 077 were multiple registrants while 2 615 had incorrect ID numbers.
Zec commissioner Dr Qhubani Moyo said the inspection of the voters’ roll was a milestone towards the holding of free and fair elections.
“President Mnangagwa can only pronounce election dates after the production of the voters’ roll,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zec has explained why it has increased the number of polling stations.
The electoral commission said the additional polling stations that are being set up will be for the convenience of the electorate on election day.
The country is expected to go for national harmonised polls between July 21 and August 21.
“Additional polling stations are not a completely new creation, but split polling stations (A, B, C, etc) created within the already existing ones to maintain the maximum threshold of each polling station at 1 000 people. This is meant to convenience the electorate on voting day,” reads the statement.
Some sections had raised a red flag over Zec’s decision to increase the polling stations. They claimed that the additional polling stations could be used for rigging purposes.
Last month, Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba revealed that the electoral body’s system was 100 percent tamper proof and the election cannot be rigged.
President Mnangagwa has assured the nation and international community that the country will hold free and fair elections.
He has called for political tolerance among various political parties.
In his Africa Day message, the President said Zimbabwe is moving towards becoming a beacon of democracy on the continent.
He said his Government would respect the will of the people.
Opposition MDC-T leader Mr Nelson Chamisa on Friday told supporters in Gwanda that he was optimistic there would be no rigging.
He said he did not believe stories making rounds that the army would stop him from taking over power if he wins.
Mr Chamisa said the army was professional and always respected the will of the people.