Zimbabwe defends electoral roll over 'ghost voters'

2018-07-19 19:09
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Zimbabwean authorities on Thursday defended a new electoral roll after allegations that thousands of fake names, duplicates and dead people are registered to cast ballots in a July 30 vote.

The country's roll has long been a contentious feature of elections and is accused of being at the core of vote rigging under Robert Mugabe, the long-time president who was ousted last year.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe with support from the military, has vowed to break with the past, promising an election free of violence, intimidation and fraud.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) took out a full-page advert in local papers to dismiss allegations that the new roll - compiled via biometric registration - was riddled with errors.

It said it had "checked all alleged ghosts and is satisfied that the voters who have the same names and dates of birth are unique individuals with unique photographs and fingerprints."

ALSO READ: Zimbabwean voters roll haunted by doppelgangers, ghosts

"These are neither ghosts nor duplicates as alleged," it added.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has cited flaws in the roll among threats to the election's credibility.

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The party has vowed to stage a vigil at ZEC headquarters over issues including the voter roll, the ballot paper and biased state media.

ZEC also denied that dead people could have been added to the roll.

"It is difficult to imagine how a dead person... could have resurrected and showed up at a registration centre between September 2017 and June 2018 to have their photo and fingerprints recorded," ZEC chief Priscilla Chigumba said in the statement.

Zimbabwe's general election will be the first since the fall of Mugabe, who had ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.

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