Fungi Kwaramba 17 May 2017
HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says it has gathered
“overwhelming information” that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec)
wants to disenfranchise voters in their urban strongholds by increasing
voter registration points in rural areas.
This comes as Zec is going ahead full steam with its campaigns to educate
the public and civic groups on the much-debated Biometric Voter
Registration (BVR) exercise, ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, MDC secretary for
elections, Murisi Zwizwai, claimed that Zec had allocated more BVR points
in rural areas than urban areas – raising fears that this is a plan to
frustrate urban voters into not registering.
Traditionally, the MDC has fared better in urban areas than in rural
areas, while Zanu PF has relied on the rural vote which both the
opposition and rights group say is secured through coercion and
“Zec wants to manipulate voters’ registration by starving areas that are
perceived to be opposition strongholds, such as urban centres.
“A voters’ registration process should be transparent and inclusive, yet
that is not what is happening.
“The Zec subcommittee involving political parties has not yet received the
full report because this is all being done secretly,” Zwizwai said.
“We are also aware that Zec wants to register Harare last and bus people
to disrupt the process as they have done in the past.
“As the MDC, we have said we are not going to allow this to happen, as
this is a clear plot to disenfranchise the urban voter … it is
calculated constitutional mischief by Zec.
“We are aware that there is an invisible hand of Zanu PF in all this and
we are going to fight to ensure that Harare province, which has the
highest numbers in terms of population has the highest number of voter
registration centres,” Zwizwai added.
He said from the information gathered so far, Bulawayo will have 392
centres, Matabeleland South 623 and Midlands 1 348 registration centres in
phase one of the registration exercise.
In phase two, Matabeleland North will tentatively have 764 registration
centres, Masvingo 1 238 and Manicaland, will be dealt with in phase three,
will have 1 003 centres.
For phase three, Mashonaland East would have 1 200, while Mashonaland
Central would have 822.
In the final phase, Mashonaland West would have 1 303 centres, compared to
a mere 700 for Harare.
And yet according to the 2012 national census, Harare province – which
includes Chitungwiza and Ruwa – had the highest provincial population of 2
123 132 million, while Mashonaland West had a population of 1 501 656
In this regard, the MDC wants the voter registration centres to reflect
the population census figures.MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the party
would guard jealously the urban vote, while trying to improve its
performance in areas where they had previously performed poorly.
“We are closely monitoring all the happenings around BVR at Zec … We are
acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu PF regime is manipulating Zec to
ensure that there will be more polling stations in rural areas compared to
“Zec won’t be allowed to adulterate and bastardise both the BVR process
and the whole process of ensuring that next year’s plebiscite is credible
and legitimate,” Gutu thundered.
Tsvangirai recently warned that Mugabe and his warring ruling Zanu PF –
fearful of receiving an even bigger poll shellacking than they got in 2008
– were allegedly already working feverishly to steal next year’s
Tsvangirai’s concerns emerged as the MDC president was concluding his tour
of Mashonaland East, where he interacted with traditional leaders – who
opened up to him on how they were being roped in by Zanu PF to become part
of the apparatus to ensure victory for the ruling party in 2018.
Traditional chief after traditional chief had apparently told Tsvangirai
during his tour of the restive Mashonaland East province, which is
traditionally a Zanu PF stronghold, that they were being forced to not
only join the ruling party, but to also lead its cells and wards – and to
actively work to help rig next year’s polls.