The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has revised upwards the number of new registered voters in 2021 after members of the public disputed its recent disclosure that only 2 000 people had registered to vote.
On Friday, Zec released new statistics that showed that only 2 971 new voters were registered to vote countrywide, contrary to the 2 000 that the Zec commissioner Jasper Mangwana announced last week Wednesday.
Various political parties and civic groups in the country have been encouraging new voters to register to vote ahead of the by-elections slated for early this year and the 2023 plebiscite.
In its latest statistics, Zec said a total of 1 647 men were registered to vote against 1 324 women.
Harare had the highest number of registered voters (722) while Mashonaland Central province only has 15 new registered voters, the least among the 10 provinces in the country.
Non-governmental organisation programme dubbed Project Vote 263 claimed that it had facilitated registration of 9 635 voters throughout the country last year.
“We have been engaging communities since March 2021, taking them through voter education,” Project Vote 263 said in a statement released on Friday.
“After realising the concerns raised by the citizens of failing to easily access Zec centres in June we started to embark on the provision of transport and mobility services and until this date, we have been doing the best we can to help people reach out to Zec centres.”
Members of the public reacted differently to the statistics released by Zec, with some accusing the electoral body of misrepresenting figures.
Law expert and political analyst Alex Magaisa accused Zec of suppressing the electorate.
“The real story is voter suppression by the election management body, @ZECzim. Unfortunately, some had fallen for the ruse, framing the issue outside Zec and giving it wriggle room. They started with 2 000, then it rose to 2 900! Remember the furore over election results,” Magaisa tweeted.
Women Academy for Leadership (Walpe) also castigated Zec over its voter registration figures saying they do not reflect the true numbers of people who registered during the whole year.
Walpe said through its 2,2 million votes for women election campaign, it managed to get 175 women registered in Mutasa, Manicaland province from August to October last year, but in its statement, Zec said only 117 women registered to vote in the whole of Manicaland province.
“We have the 175 registration slips from Zec which proves that the women indeed registered as voters between August and October 2021 in Mutasa, Manicaland alone and this is not the true reflection of what happened,” read the Walpe statement.