Exposed: How Zimbabwe Elections Are Rigged
A Zimbabwe voter gets his name checked (manually) against the voters' roll. The process has opened the door to cheating by parties and there is no one worried about the loopholes at all. Notice that the voter is holding his identity card and the harassed polling officer has to simply check to make sure the name is on the roll.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 24 November 2009
There are the beatings. And the intimidation.
Everyone knows this is how Mugabe rigs elections to get elected. But something else has now come to light which should prompt the government to put in place measures that can curb an even more difficult rigging process that is almost impossible to stop right now.
Here's the deal.
With more than five million registered voters in Zimbabwe (almost six million), we always get around 3 million people only voting.
There are also people who are not registered to vote, either because they can prove residence (a house they live in and so on) or are lain lazy to do so.
Parliament has now been told that these people who are not registered to vote routinely take the identity cards of voters and use them to vote.
It works like this: a political party pays a legion of people in a particular ward to vote and, because there is no coordination between the polling stations, it is possible for me to vote at one polling station with my ID card, get ink on my finger and then hand my ID card to another person who is not registered to vote, who will then go to the next polling station, pose as I and vote.
All the officials at the next booth, which is still in my ward, are asked to do is check that the name on the ID is on the voters' roll for the ward/constituency. My name would be found there and even though I have already voted, the person presenting the ID can go in and vote again using my name and ID.
Zimbabwean voters will tell you that officials never have the time to really check the photo and unless you are so daft that you use a female ID card when you are male, you will almost certainly never be caught.
Elections are so important because they decide the fate of our nation for the following five years and no expense should be too big to ensure that all forms of cheating are eradicated.
It should be a constitutional requirement that all polling stations in any one ward/constituency be linked electronically and that once one has voted, their name is marked as such in the system. Should that ID show up at the next polling station, looking up the name in the voters roll will also bring up whether or not the person has already voted that day at a different polling station in the same ward/constituency.
It is something that should be given serious thought.
Yet no one, except one member of parliament, is worried about this at all. They want to cry foul later on when Mugabe rides into office again on the basis of an inexplicable and fraudulent win.