REGISTERED voters whose names are missing from the voters’ roll and those moved to other polling stations or constituencies have to continuously check if corrections have been effected on the mobile USSD code *265#, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s chief elections officer, Utloile Silaigwana, says.
Scores of people, including former Primary and Secondary Education minister David Coltart and Citizens’ Coalition for Change deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba took to Twitter during the voters’ roll inspection period of 29 May 2023 to 1 June 2023, to reveal that their names are missing from the vote register.
Asked whether the people will have a chance to inspect the voters’ roll before polling date to check for corrections, Silaigwana said they can use the digital platforms.
“What I can tell you is that they must continue checking using platforms like *265# or our website which is www.bvrinspection.zec.org.zw. We have advertised all these platforms. They can continue, there are several platforms to check on that,” said Silaigwana.
He said he was not sure why the names were missing from the roll.
“You are talking to me now and I am not sure of the exact number of people who are missing from the roll and why. Whether the one has transferred or not because some of things we are witnessing are that for some people, they have been voting at one polling station for the past three elections then they transfer and for by-elections like the one we had in March 2022 and then forget that they have transferred. But I would not want to comment on that because I do not know why the names are missing. Is it because they transferred or they did not register to vote,” asked Silaigwana.
In the cases that The NewsHawks has seen, the affected voters say they did not transfer and are registered voters.
Coltart says he has been voting at Burnside garage for 23 years but has been moved to a polling station six kilometres from his home.
“On Monday morning I went to the polling station we have voted at for the last 23 years — Burnside Garage. My name was not on the roll there. Note this for later. My details were written down on a piece of scrap paper — I was not given any receipt showing I had been there,” he said.
“At 4pm on Monday I decided to try *265# again. For the first time it worked and said that I was registered at Hillside Bowling Club which is a considerable distance from my home. It is about 6kms from my home as opposed to Burnside Garage which is just 2kms from my home.”
Another voter who spoke to The NewsHawks on condition of anonymity said her name was missing from her usual polling station and *265# was not working.
“I voted in the previous elections, but my name is not on *265# anymore, but last week it was there. They said they are working towards fixing the problem, we might have a new voters’ roll. So they took my number and details, said they will call once everything is in order,” she said.
With Zec accused of poorly running past elections, the missing names have raised alarm.
Silaigwana however assured the people that there is nothing amiss and that the intention of inspecting the voters’ roll is to check for anomalies and fix them.
“We put the voters’ roll out there so that people can check for their names and will have everything fixed,” he said.
The harmonised elections will be held on 23 August this year as proclaimed by the President in Statutory Instrument 85 of 2023.