June 28, 2017

Zimbabwe electoral roll has 2.5 million ‘extra’ names

You are never too old to vote in a Zimbabwe election. Even if you are dead or don't exist.

A secretly obtained copy of Zimbabwe’s voters’ roll analysed by the South African Institute of Race Relations contains some 2.5m ‘extra’ names than it should.

One of the strangest anomolies is there are more than 41,000 people aged over 100 on the Zimbabwe roll, which if more than four times as many as the United Kingdom, which has a far larger population and longer life expectancy.

A report on electoral roll, written for the Institute by Richard Johnson, says “This phantom vote is more than enough to settle the outcome of any election.”

He found that 16,800 people shared the same date of birth – 1 January 1901. Not bad for a country with an average life expectancy of 49 years.

Some 230 voters were aged below 18, some of whom were below two years of age.

“If experience is any guide, phantom voters are likely to vote early and often in the next Zimbabwean poll,” Mr Johnson said.

President Robert Mugabe has called for elections to be held this year.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, says they should be held in 2012 after a new constitution has been passed to ensure they are free and fair.

The 2008 elections were marred by violence against Mr Tsvangirai’s supporters, and observers have alleged widespread fraud in previous polls.

President Mugabe is a classic example of a leader who started out with noble intentions but was seduced by power and the need to retain it at all costs.