AT least 5 000 registered voters have died before the finalisation of the biometric voter registration exercise, a senior Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has revealed.
Speaking at a Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) election reporting workshop in Masvingo last week, ZEC deputy Commissioner Emmanuel Magadi said at least 5 000 registered voters had passed on before the completion of the biometric voter registration exercise.
“By the time the country goes for elections, the names of the deceased would have been removed from the roll,” said Magadi.
He dismissed allegations that ZEC was deliberately removing registered voters’ names from the roll and challenged the media to visit the commission’s officers to verify things they did not understand well.
“Our system is foolproof that when one dies today, we will know it and remove the name from the voters’ roll,” he said.
“We get this information from the Department of Registry where relatives of the deceased acquire death certificates. So far, it has come to our attention that 5 000 of those who have registered under BVR, have died.”
Magadi said no person would be removed from the voters roll without any valid reason.
“At no time will ZEC remove any name unless the person is registered twice,” he said.
“We have situations where some people were registering under two or more wards during the ongoing BVR and we will address this through contacting the voter over the matter.
“However, in all fairness, we have not had many challenges with this system like before.”
Last week, at the electoral body’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) stand, ZEC’s chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the 2018 elections could not be rigged as the country’s voting system was foolproof.
“The BVR system is tamper-proof for the simple reason that the data that we collected is housed in something called the consolidation server,” she said.
“The consolidation server contains the master server that contains all the information and we then have other servers which we are using to connect that data.
“Those servers have very strict protection files. They are very strict unhackable access level passwords that are tamper free.”
Justice Chigumba said ZEC had started de-duplicating of BVR data which entails cleaning double registrants from the voters’ roll.
According to ZEC’s data, as at April 19 this year, 5 428 660 people had registered to vote under the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise.
Of the total number of registrants, 2 946 826 are women, while 2 481 834 are men.