More irregularities discovered in ZEC’s discredited report
A NEW report by Team Pachedu, an electoral advocacy group, has unearthed a raft of irregularities and discrepancies, showing six different voter population totals from the preliminary delimitation report, raising questions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s data integrity.
Zec is currently in the process of completing the delimitation process which critics have called out for gerrymandering on behalf of Zanu PF. The preliminary report created new constituencies in Zanu PF strongholds in Harare, while restoring settings in opposition domains.
Harare, with over 900 000 voters, was allocated 30 constituencies while the Midlands, with over 700 000, was allocated 28. Findings from a report by Pachedu show several registered voter totals, against Zec’s official total of 5 804 376.
“The foregoing abridged findings explored the different data quality facets of the datasets extracted from the preliminary delimitation report. The most important finding is that apart from Zec’s self-reported provincial and constituency totals, NONE of the other data provided matches the alleged official national voter population from Zec.
“In fact, we found six different voter population totals, that is, 5 804 376 (official); 5 806 964; 5 806 485; 5 798 059; 5 805 703 and 5 804 076 by aggregating the raw data provided at different levels, that is, provincial level, local authority level, constituency level and ward level, as well as the self-reported totals for each. This is unacceptable. This lack of coherence of the data provided is highly indicative of severe data integrity issues.
“The delimitation report is riddled with discrepancies and inconsistencies which suggests professional malpractice and incompetence, and is unbefitting the stature of a national body like Zec,” read the report.
Pachedu said failure by Zec to provide verifiable data renders the delimitation process flawed.
“This probably explains why Zec has repeatedly refused to avail the final delimitation voters’ roll in complete disregard of the law. Garbage in — garbage out (GIGO). The fact that Zec made calculations using flawed and unverifiable data renders the entire process flawed,” Pachedu said.
“The major limitation was the opaqueness, or rather, lack of transparency by Zec during the delimitation exercise; the key pain point being the official delimitation voters’ roll which was shrouded in secrecy.
“It is unfortunate that ever since its formation in 2004, Zec has not been transparent. Their processes are opaque and not fair. The recent delimitation was not an exception. From their secrecy with the voters’ roll to the unexpected last-minute delimitation changes contrary to what the public demanded and expected.
“Zec refused to avail the final delimitation voters’ roll as required by the law. To this effect, the scope of this audit was limited. For instance, we could not establish the magnitude of deceased voters, double voters, misallocated or displaced voters, voters with fake IDs (national identity documents), and other discrepancies and their individual and collective effect on the delimitation outcome,” according to the report.
At constituency level, statistics showed a discrepancy of 2 588 voters that were unaccounted for after comparing with the official total.
“We parsed and extracted all the 10 constituency tables, then calculated the national voter population. The total number of voters based on the constituency data was 5,806,964. We then compared this total to the official voter population which Zec alleges to be 5,804,376 on page ix of the delimitation report.
There was a difference of 2 588 unaccounted voters,” read the report. At ward level, the report showed a discrepancy of 2 109 voters while an aggregation of the constituency and wards totals left 6 317 voters unaccounted for.
Zec is running out of time to complete the delimitation process, which has been criticised on a number of fronts, including the fact the election body may have used the 1980 Lancaster House constitution in its calculations to determine constituency numbers, rendering it null and void.
Legal think tanks have also urged Zec to act on recommendations by the ad hoc committee that was set up to look into the report, which include the failure to use data correctly to delimit electoral areas and the failure to give reasons for combining constituencies.